Oklahoma Horseman Walter Merrick Dead

Breeder/owner Walter Merrick, who was a prominent figure in Quarter Horse racing, died Feb. 4 at age 94.

A member of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Merrick raced nine stakes winners, seven of which were homebreds, including Northern Writer and That's Class. Merrick bred a dozen stakes winners. One of them, Highland Ice, was a stakes winner five consecutive years at Remington Park.

Merrick stood such stallions as Garthorn, Highland Blade, Track Barron, and Vanlandingham, all grade I winners, at his farm near Sayre, Okla. Years earlier, he bred the stallion Three Bars to his Quarter Horse mares at a time when many in the sport were opposed to the introduction of Thoroughbred blood. Among the Quarter Horses bred by Merrick was Easy Jet, who became one of the sport's premier stallions, siring 145 stakes winners.

Merrick's survivors include a son and two daughters.