Well-respected horseman Marvin Little, Jr. passed away July 4 after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.
Widely known as “Junior” within the industry, Little was born in Paintsville, K.Y. After a stint in the Navy, he was planning to work in a factory but a steel strike meant he took a chore at Clovelly Farms in Lexington.
He afterward took a undertaking at the Hardin family’s Newstead Farm in Upperville, Va. Little ran his route up from yearling administrator to farm administrator of the historic operation.
When Newstead underwent dispersal in 1985, world records were set. Handled by Fasig-Tipton, the dispersal grossed $46,988, 000 and remains one of the largest in history.
Little’s success did not objective after leaving Newstead. He moved to Kentucky, and when he did, he took his own ponies with him. Included of the working group was a colt by Woodman. That foal, subsequently named Hansel, would go on to win both the GI Preakness S. and the GI Belmont S. and was named champ 3-year-old colt in 1991.
” My papa was a legend, and his dreaming was to breed the win of the Kentucky Derby, but he never quite got there ,” said Teresa Little.” But he bred the winner of the Preakness and the Belmont. Hansel nearly won it all for us, and he was a champ .”
Little bred a number of notable stakes wins throughout the decades, including Kinsale King, who won the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2010 on Dubai World Cup night.
He never retired from the Thoroughbred industry, and at the time of his death, he still owned about 20 broodmares. Little loved the pony business for all the great moments of elation it brought to him and his family as well as for all the truly remarkable people and great friends he made along the way.
Little is survived by his three children, Marilyn, Jeff, and Teresa, as well as five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5-8 p. m. on Thursday, July 6, at Hinton-Turner Funeral Home in Paris, Ky. Funeral services will be held Friday, July 7, at 1 p.m.