Harry T. Mangurian Jr., one of Florida’s leading breeders and owners for years, died Oct. 19 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after battling leukemia A native of Rochester, N.Y., he was 82.
Mangurian , who started in racing in the 1960s, was the breeder and/or owner of about 150 stakes winners. His first stakes winner, Desert Vixen, also was his first champion. She was voted 1973 champion 3-year-old filly and 1974 champion older female and later was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Mangurian also was the breeder and owner of her full brother, graded winner Valid Appeal, who went on to become one of Florida’s greatest stallions while standing at Mangurian’s Mockingbird Farm near Ocala, Fla.
Mangurian received numerous awards for his contributions to racing. He was voted a 2001 Eclipse Award of Merit after finishing second the previous two years and was honored with several Florida Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association awards as the state’s outstanding owner/breeder.
Mockingbird came to encompass 1,100 acres in the mid-1990s. In 2001, Mangurian sold the farm to Eugene Melnyk, who renamed it Winding Oaks Farm.
Mangurian was represented as breeder by starters in a dozen Breeders’ Cup races. The best of the group was Gilded Time, who won the 1992 Juvenile (gr. I) and was voted champion 2-year-old male. Gilded Time returned the following year to run third in the Sprint (gr. I).
Mangurian was the breeder and/or owner of such other prominent horses as End Sweep, Captive Miss, Appealing Skier, Miss Iron Smoke, Exciting Story, Little Sister, Nany’s Sweep, Successful Appeal , Swept Overboard, Trippi, Valid Expectations, and Valid Wager.
Successful trainer Mark Casse, whose father, Norm Casse, played a major role in the Florida racing industry, managed Mockingbird in the 1990s.
“Besides my father, he was the most influential person in my life,” Casse told the Ocala Star-Banner. “And the older I got, the wiser he became. Many of the things I’ve done in my life are because of the things he’s told me. The world has lost a great man, but I’ve lost a great friend.”
Mangurian’s passion for sports extended to professional basketball. He owned the Buffalo Braves and later the Boston Celtics.
Mangurian’s survivors include his wife, Dorothy, and daughters Terry and Tracy.