Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

John and Kitty Merryman, who grew up with horses and passed their knowledge and interest to their six children, had a rising star in their stable.

Four-year-old Twixt, a daughter of Restless Native out of Eveleen foaled at the couple’s The Orebanks in Sparks, Md., and owned in partnership with Mrs. John Franklin, had won eight of her 21 starts (including three stakes). She was trained by the Merrymans’ oldest daughter, Katy Voss.
A two-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year (1973 and 1974) and four-time divisional champion, Twixt retired in 1975 as Maryland’s all-time money-winning mare ($619,141) and won more stakes, 18, than any Maryland-bred in history. She was inducted into the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2013.
  • Thornmar Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thor Ramsing and their daughter Cynthia Ramsing, started as a dream during a backstretch conversation in Saratoga in 1970 and became reality when it opened for the 1973 breeding season. The idea for the farm was to combine the talents of Dr. Thomas Bowman, P. Richard Goode, Doug Small Jr. and Cynthia to run a Thoroughbred operation, focusing on the Maryland Fund purses. The Chestertown, Md., property, purchased in January 1972, opened with new barns for stallions (four stalls) and broodmares (28 stalls).
    Cynthia and husband Charles McGinnes have had considerable success, including standing Breeders’ Cup sire Horatius, and being named MHBA Breeder of the Year in 2004. 
  • When Marian Bender won Bowie’s Grade 3 Virginia Belle Stakes, the filly’s foster mother was cheering her on. Phoebe Berman, wife of Edgar Berman, helped raise the Bold Monarch filly at the couple’s Fernwood Farm (in Brooklandville, Md.). “The filly’s dam, Appealable, died a month after Marian Bender was foaled,” said Edgar Berman. “My wife immediately adopted the filly. If I hadn’t put my foot down she would have kept the foal in our bedroom.”
  • Bold Victor, sold privately to Nathan Scherr as a yearling for $2,000 after his previous owner (who paid $4,500 at the 1971 Eastern Fall Yearling sale) thought the colt was unsound, captured the Francis Scott Key Stakes at Bowie to give his sire, Bonita Farm’s Bold Monarch, his second stakes winner of the year from his second crop.
    Bold Victor added the Grade 3 Pimlico Stakes that spring, was named Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old colt and retired with 11 top-three finishes in 16 career starts. 
  • Writer Lucy Acton profiled Dr. Patricia Owens, the first female veterinarian to build a practice at Maryland racetracks. A horsewoman since childhood, Owens started as a veterinarian at Delaware Park in 1964, but she didn’t always have veterinary medicine in her plans. Originally a housewife, she decided to pursue becoming a vet after leaving home and moving to California.

Archives | Looking Back

Click here to view our online Looking Back archives.

The Mill Leaders