Bill Mulligan, breeder of Marion Marauder, dies
December 19, 2017
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William Mulligan, a longtime Standardbred owner and breeder who bred 2016 Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder, died Monday, Dec. 18. He was 87. Mr. Mulligan owned nearly 300 horses in his career and was the breeder of more than 200.
In 1965, Mr. Mulligan bought his first farm, a 65-acre spread, in Danville, Pa., and named it Marion Far. That was the same year his mother, Marion, died, hence the name. In 1996, when he was at the end of his career of traveling the world as an executive with Ingersoll Rand, Mr. Mulligan bought another farm in New Hope, Pa. At one time he had approximately 20 broodmares.
Among the top horses he owned was Spellbound Hanover 3,1:54.3 ($962,395), who was the Nova Award winner as the top 2-year-old trotting filly in 2000. Trained by Bill Popfinger, she captured the $346,000 Merrie Annabelle and the $131,325 Matron that year.
As a broodmare, Spellbound Hanover produced $2.5 million winner Marion Marauder.
Mr. Mulligan watched Marion Marauder capture the Hambletonian on TV from home.
"It's unbelievable," he said of the victory. "I went to my first Hambletonian when I was six or seven years old at the kite track in Goshen (N.Y.) with my father. I always wanted to have a horse in the Hambletonian, and to have this happen at this time, I'm just thrilled. I certainly would have liked to be there. I didn't miss any of Spellbound's races."
Mr. Mulligan recalled that he bought Spellbound Hanover, a daughter of Donerail out of the Super Bowl mare Sounds Swell, because he liked the pedigree.
"I had given a list of horses to Bill Popfinger to look at, and I told Bill to go to $50,000 or $60,000, but we were able to buy her for $35,000 because she was small."
In the past decade or so, in addition to breeding mares at Marion Farm, Mr. Mulligan stood his own stallion, Party Party, and also provided a Pennsylvania home for Muscle Hill during the breeding season.
Arrangements will be posted when available.