Legendary Maryland Trainer Jimmy Murphy Passes Away

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The Maryland racing community lost one of its more well-known members when trainer Jimmy Murphy passed away Saturday, June 13. He was 82.


Murphy saddled nearly 1,400 winners for earnings of more than $24 million, according to Equibase, during his career which began in 1965. The Milwaukee native had more than 50 stakes winners, including Knight Landing who finished seventh in the 1980 Preakness Stakes (Grade I).

Murphy had a banner Preakness week in 1994, winning the Pimlico Distaff (then Grade III) with Double Sixes and the Miss Preakness Stakes (then ungraded) with Foolish Kisses.

More recently he teamed up with jockey Horacio Karamanos for three victories on opening day of the 2002 Laurel Park summer meet and saddled the first winner over the new Laurel Park oval when Conduct took the opener on January 26, 2005. Murphy was named trainer of the year by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in 2006.

Visitation is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 16 at Donaldson Funeral Home, 313 Talbot Ave., Laurel, Md. 20707. A graveside service is set for noon Wednesday, June 17 at Union Cemetery, 3001 Spencerville Road/Route 198, Burtonsville, Md.

Though Murphy garnered the most attention as a Maryland trainer he was an accomplished steeplechase jockey from 1948 through his retirement in 1964. Murphy booted home 185 winners in his career to rank 10th on the all-time list. He was champion jockey in 1959, scoring with 20 of his 106 mounts and during his 17-year run won such prestigious races as the New York Turf Writers Cup, National Hunt Cup, Rouge Dragon, Midsummer Stakes, National Hurdle (twice), Tom Roby (twice) and Indian River (twice).

– Edited from a Maryland Jockey Club press release