Martin D. “Irish” Owens, a veteran Ohio trainer, died May 22 in Cleveland after a short illness. He was 90.
Owens’ connection with horses began as a boy in the 1920s. A horse drawn cart would bring ice to the family home in Connecticut, and Owens would run down the steps just to pet the horse’s nose. After that, he became involved with horses in any way he could.
After serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Owens returned to the East Coast to renew his fledgling career as a trainer. He later relocated his operation to Cleveland, where he trained for such powerhouse owners as Landon Knight and Al Corrado.
A perennial leading Ohio trainer during the 1970s and early 1980s, Owens maintained a presence in Ohio racing until his retirement in 2007. He trained about 35 stakes winners including 1972 Ohio Horse of the Year Burglary, who won 36 races during his career.
Owens is survived by sons Martin Jr. and Alfred, and a daughter, Virginia Owens Aime.
A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m., at Our Lady of Hope, 400 Warrensville Center Rd., Bedford, Ohio.