Merryman Household Custom Nonetheless Going Robust In Maryland Million – Horse Racing Information

There was a time, not way back, when Michael Merryman thought of making his dwelling at one thing apart from the household enterprise. At first, he adopted his dream to develop into a significant league pitcher earlier than that gave method to extra sensible pursuits like structure or engineering.

Ultimately, the lure of a life he had all the time identified gained out.

“There is a saying, ‘You possibly can solely outrun your breeding for therefore lengthy,’” Merryman stated, “and I discover that to be very true.”

Merryman, 29, is among the many newest technology of profitable Merryman horsemen carrying on a household custom in Thoroughbred racing that is among the greatest identified and numerous within the business with a depth and breadth – as homeowners, breeders, trainers and even auctioneers and equine dentistry – that’s unsurpassed.

“It is nice. I feel it is a tribute to our mother and father, who have been wonderful horse individuals,” coach, proprietor, breeder and Michael Merryman’s aunt Katy Voss stated. “They might be more than happy.”

Nowhere has that success been extra evident than within the Maryland Million, which is able to rejoice its thirty sixth yr Saturday at Laurel Park. The Merrymans personal 25 wins as breeders, homeowners and trainers going again to the very first yr in 1986 when 3-year-old filly Sensible ‘n Fast – a homebred of her father’s skilled by Voss – captured the Maryland Million Oaks.

“We glance all yr for a Maryland Million horse and we prepare for it. It’s the largest day of the yr for us. Preakness is nice and all the things, however that is our day to indicate off Maryland-breds,” Michael Merryman stated. “It is only a great point to have the ability to discover a horse, level for that race and get to make some good cash with a pleasant horse that you could be [otherwise] by no means get that shot if not for Maryland Million Day.”

John B. Merryman was born and raised in Cockeysville, Md., married Katharine ‘Kitty’ Warfield and bought a 500-acre farm known as The Orebanks in 1947, which right now is operated by their daughter, Ann, and grandson, Michael. As a teen, John Merryman foxhunted, participated in horse exhibits and point-to-point races and was the second technology of his household to trip within the Maryland Hunt Cup.

A Marine who served as a fighter pilot stationed in Okinawa, Japan throughout World Battle II, John Merryman took over the household livestock auctioneering enterprise upon his return to Maryland and managed practically each main Guernsey sale in North America, promoting dairy cattle in 40 states in Canada.

John and Kitty Merryman – herself from a distinguished Maryland household – had six youngsters, all of whom have been instilled with a love of horses and cattle and a tireless work ethic gleaned from their mother and father – daughters Katy, Frances, Ann and Elizabeth and sons Edwin and John Jr. Of them, all however Frances turned trainers.

“We grew up in it. We grew up with horses and cows. We drew straws and I gained what I imagine are fifth or sixth technology silks,” Edwin Merryman stated. “I’ve an image of a horse of my great-grandfather’s [wearing them]. I do not find out about his father, however it goes again 4 generations anyway.”

John and Kitty Merryman raised and raced quite a few stakes winners comparable to Pistol White, Sensible ‘n Fast, Due North, Push N Six, Run Spot, Woman Lyndy, Rebuff and Wooden Fox, and John was named Maryland’s Breeder of the Yr in 1988. Their largest success was the homebred Twixt, who on the time of her retirement was Maryland’s all-time money-winning mare and ranked sixth within the nation.

Twixt, skilled by Voss, was a Maryland-bred champion yearly she raced (1972-75), gained 26 races, 18 in stakes together with the 1974 and 1975 Barbara Fritchie (G3), $619,143 in purses and was a member of the inaugural Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Corridor of Fame Class of 2013.

Based mostly at Laurel, Voss started coaching in 1972 and has gained 858 races and greater than $16.3 million in purses. She has skilled 4 Maryland Million winners, the newest being Saratoga Bob within the 2018 Traditional, a horse named for her longtime life associate, Bob Manfuso, who handed away in 2020. Saratoga Bob can also be considered one of 4 Maryland Million winners bred by the pair.

“One summer time my sister and I took a bunch of horses to Marlboro. Maryland was closed in the summertime principally and the one monitor open was Marlboro,” Voss stated. “My mother and father’ coach took the runners to Monmouth, so we spent the summer time at Marlboro. I used to be going to school and my sister was again at school and our coach give up, so there I used to be coaching all these horses. It type of went on from there.”

Edwin was the subsequent to start coaching, in 1976, and has gained 176 races and greater than $3.6 million in purses. He shares a barn on the Truthful Hill Coaching Middle in Elkton, Md. along with his sister, Elizabeth. His greatest horse was Jazzy Concept, who he bred, owned and skilled to 5 profession stakes wins embrace the 2012 Maryland Million Oaks.

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Edwin’s son, Louis, and daughter-in-law, Grace, function Anchor & Hope Farm in Port Deposit, Md. which stands stallions Bourbon Braveness, Editorial, Holy Boss, Imagining and Lengthy River. Louis Merryman additionally serves the Maryland Million as president of its government committee, with Voss serving as secretary/treasurer.

“We have all executed OK,” Edwin Merryman stated. “Maryland Million is a incredible program. Hopefully we are able to get the Maryland-sired, Maryland Million eligible numbers again up so far as the in-state breeding. The preliminary foal report got here out and the Maryland foals have been up a tick, anyway. There’s some first rate younger horses standing in Maryland now.”

Ann Merryman started coaching in 1981 and gained 653 races and greater than $15.3 million in purses, 5 of her wins coming within the Maryland Million. Amongst her high horses have been Goldminer’s Dream, a four-time stakes winner of $511,261 lifetime that positioned in three Grade 3 stakes, and 1999 Laurel Sprint (G3) winner Grapeshot.

Her son, Michael, took over the coaching duties this fall following the conclusion of the Maryland State Truthful meet at Timonium. They rotate horses between historic Pimlico Race Course, the place Ann – a member of the Maryland Million Board of Administrators – was based mostly for years, and The Orebanks, positioned about quarter-hour north.

“I am the one on the monitor each morning and my mother type of runs the farm. She loves bringing the horses alongside and being there,” Michael Merryman stated. “We do it a bit totally different than most individuals. We solely have about 11 stalls at Pimlico however we’ve about 27 in coaching. We now have two operations going each morning. We have all the time type of labored collectively and constructed a fairly good partnership. It got here to be that it was time for me to step up and take over, and I am OK taking that position.”

Elizabeth Merryman, the youngest of the siblings, lives in Pennsylvania along with her husband, Invoice Rubin, who additionally raises buffalo on their farm. Based mostly at Truthful Hill, she launched her coaching profession in 2004 and has gained 156 races and practically $6 million in purses.

“My dad did not really need me to finish up on the racetrack, so I went away to school. I went to Cornell as an animal science main, hopefully to be a vet. However then I circled again and got here again into it. It is a very addicting sport,” she stated. “It is fairly neat that all of us type of carried on the breeding, proudly owning, coaching and all that, the entire circle. In the future, I am unable to keep in mind how way back, I feel 4 of us all had winners on the identical day – Edwin, Katy, Ann and I – that all of us owned and bred and skilled. That was type of neat.”

Her greatest horse, Roadhog, ran within the Maryland Million Turf 5 consecutive years, gained it in 2012 and 2013 and completed second in 2015 and third in 2014. Her present star is turf sprinter Caravel, who she bred, owned and skilled earlier than promoting a majority curiosity to superstar chef Bobby Flay. Winner of the July 24 Caress (G3) at Saratoga, she is now skilled by Graham Movement.

“It is so thrilling, Maryland Million. When Roadhog gained his couple races for me, I used to be so excited. Sure, they’re restricted stakes and all, however it’s such a Maryland feeling and there is a lot enthusiasm and a lot pleasure round that day, and it is so enjoyable,” she stated. “It truly is particular, particularly since my dad was so instrumental in all of the horse breeders’ organizations and Maryland Million and all. He was very obsessed with it. It is type of a cool tribute to him that he did very nicely in it earlier than he handed away, but in addition all of his offspring have continued on.”

Like Ann Merryman’s son, Michael, Elizabeth Merryman’s youngsters are carrying on the custom. Her son, McLane Hendriks, works as her assistant coach and is making ready to begin his personal secure. Her daughter, Liza Hendriks, is co-founder of Wannamaker’s, which hosts month-to-month on-line Thoroughbred auctions.

“My sister, Ann, and I, we speak about it on a regular basis about our children being hooked into it, too,” she stated. “It is actually neat.”

Michael Merryman continues to function an equine dental follow, treating horses at Pimlico in addition to varied farms all through Maryland and Pennsylvania, although he has needed to in the reduction of from doing as many as 50 to 60 horses per week to focus on coaching. He additionally runs 50 head of Devon beef cattle at The Orebanks.

“It’s extremely rewarding to have the ability to assist horses be extra snug with the bit in addition to grinding and consuming correctly,” he stated. “I additionally really feel it helps me to be extra well-rounded as a horseman. You need to be fairly in tune with them to get your entire arm of their mouth. You possibly can see and spot issues that others could not.”

Given his various roles, it is exhausting to imagine Michael Merryman virtually handed on serving to carry the household torch.

“Rising up, simply the way in which my mother is, she by no means actually talked about any of it. I grew up within the dust at Barn A at Pimlico,” he stated. “I have been on the races since I used to be born, and I used to be in all probability on a horse along with her in her stomach. It is fairly ingrained in me. I did type of get worn out by it, being in it my total life and all the things, and I cherished the farm. However I needed to, as one does, exit and discover [my] approach and take into consideration what [I] need to do.

“I went to a liberal arts school that I assumed was my shot at going to the majors pitching. That did not work out. I ended up out at Montana State, studied [agricultural] enterprise. Engineering, structure is what I used to be enthusiastic about. I regularly realized that is simply not for me.”

Michael gave the household cause to rejoice forward of Maryland Million at his Oct. 2 wedding ceremony to spouse, Christine. The ceremony, naturally, was held at The Orebanks.

“The unique deed when my grandfather purchased that land was so far as the attention can see in each route. The spot we acquired married in was my grandmother’s spot and it simply ended up being the spot my entire life the place I went to mirror, good instances or dangerous,” he stated.

“My grandparents would say, some years the horses carry you, some years the cows carry you. Variety helps to maintain our farm going. That being stated, the horse racing is all the time our primary focus,” Michael Merryman stated. “Actually, we simply all love horses. The truth that we get to do it for a dwelling is a bonus.”


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