Prominent breeder/owner Marvin Warner Sr. of Warnerton Farm died April 8 of heart failure while attending a shuttle takeoff at Cape Canaveral, Fla. He was 82.
Warner bred and/or raced such accomplished runners as Stalwart, Desert Wine, Recitation, Groom Dancer, and Triteamtri. At the recent Ocala Breeders' Sales Company March sale of 2-year-old in training, Warnerton sold the $400,000 sale topper, a Phone Trick colt, through Hartley/De Renzo. The farm, located near Ocala, Fla., was the majority owner.
Grade I winner Stalwart was Warner's favorite race horse, according to his son, Marvin Warner Jr., who goes by Mark. "Dad's favorite horse overall was an Appaloosa riding horse named Apple," the younger Warner said.
Stalwart, who raced for the elder Warner in partnership, scored his major wins in the 1981 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) and the Hollywood Futurity. At stud, he sired millionaire Stalwars for Warner.
Desert Wine, who was bred by Warner and Brereton C. Jones, was a three-time grade I winner and a $1.6-million earner. He ran second in the 1983 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Recitation was 1980 champion 2-year-old in France and a classic winner the following year. Groom Dancer, a champion in France in 1987, and graded stakes winner Triteamtri raced for Mark Warner. Alone and in partnership, the elder Warner bred some 55 stakes winners and campaigned apprioximately 34 added-money winners.
Warner, who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., started riding as a youth in payment for cleaning stalls. He served in World War II and reached the rank of Major. He owned Quarter Horses beginning in 1969, and started with Thoroughbreds after hooking up in 1971 with John T.L. Jones Jr., present owner of Walmac International near Lexington. Warner held a small interest in Walmac-Warnerton and later opened Warnerton Farm near Lexington.
Warner, who served as ambassador to Switzerland during the Carter presidency, was convicted of banking and securities violations in 1987. Later that year, the Warnerton operation was moved to Ocala.
Warner's survivors include Mark and two daughters. Mark Warner. who will assume the role of general manager, plans to put the farm and training center on the market.
A funeral service will be held April 21 at Lakeside Cemetery in Miami.