Leading breeder Harry Mangurian Jr.

Leading breeder Harry Mangurian Jr.

Mangurian Tops Breeders' List--Again

Published in the Jan. 5 issue of The Blood-Horse
Harry T. Mangurian Jr. completed the dispersal of 99% of his breeding stock in 2000. So in 2001, his primary involvement in the Thoroughbred business was that of an interested onlooker. As he watched and tallied, nearly 600 horses bred in his name and that of his Mockingbird Farm raced, won 36 stakes races at 16 different tracks, made more than 4,500 starts, and earned approximately $16.5 million.

As 2000 ended, Mangurian was giving his final farewell to the breeding business while simultaneously topping the year-end breeders' standings with $10,601,560. He didn't warn the industry that still to come was a crop of runners bearing the Mockingbird name that would win grade I races in Canada (Dark Ending's Selene Stakes) and Puerto Rico (Tonight's Wager captured the Clasico Dia de la Mujer), two grade III events at Aqueduct (Richly Blended took the Gotham and Withers Stakes), as well as a smattering of listed races from coast to coast.

Then there were the runners whose best races were still ahead of them: Exciting Story and the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), Nany's Sweep and the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I), and Swept Overboard and the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I). Why would anyone leave all this?

"I don't think he has any regrets," said Mark Casse, Mangurian's director of operations. "He did it more for personal reasons. He's very excited about the successes that occurred after ending it all."

Mangurian's link to racing isn't quite as final as that might sound. Although he just sold Mockingbird's Marion County, Fla., acreage to Eugene Melnyk, he still owns four broodmares and about 35 horses in training (including stakes winners Jealous Forum and Unchained Storm). Casse said Mangurian didn't plan to keep any broodmares after his dispersals, but these four, a group that includes a half-sister to Swept Overboard, recently retired from racing and will all be bred to Trippi this year.

"Mr. Mangurian watches the races every day, I talk to him every day, and he keeps track," Casse said. "Horse racing's been his life, and that's not going to change."

For the record, Mangurian switched from using his own name in breeding and racing to the Mockingbird title in 1998. Done primarily for estate-planning reasons, the change only further emphasizes Mangurian's lasting effects after his supposed departure from the business. The horses from the crops of 1998 and 1999 were the only ones bred in the Mockingbird name, and those horses earned the most of any breeder's runners in 2001, more than $9.1 million. Mangurian's runners from crops of 1992-1997 finished third behind Mockingbird and Frank Stronach's Adena Springs with $7.3 million in earnings.

Another amazing aspect of Mangurian's success is that he did it without leaving Florida for stud power--he amassed his own stallion rosters and bred his mares either at Mockingbird or other Ocala-area farms. The sires of six of Mangurian's seven graded stakes winners in 2001 stood at his farm, as did Valid Expectations and Open Forum, the current one-two leaders among first-crop sires for 2001. But Mangurian's high earnings figures didn't rely on graded stakes purses to boost them to their current heights. Sure, they helped, but with nearly 600 starters out there competing for purses, the bread and butter claimers and allowance winners helped the bottom line significantly.

Now 74, Mangurian and his wife, Dottie, spend much of their time in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The horses that carry their names spend much of their time visiting winner's circles around the world.

2001 Leading Breeders by Earnings