A legend in Quarter Horse Racing not only in Oklahoma, but industry wide. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time.
Longtime Oklahoma horseman Marvin Barns passed away today after suffering a heart attack at his home near Ada, Oklahoma. He was 95.
Marvin and the two females who arguably had the biggest influence on his life in the past half-century—his wife Lela and their broodmare FL Lady Bug—were induced into the Oklahoma Quarter Hall of Fame in 2009. Lela died later that year.
Marvin and Lela Barnes has been among Quarter Horse racing’s most influential owners and breeders during their 51-year marriage. They won the All-American Futurity when the Ruidoso Downs fixture was the world’s richest horse race, and, through FL Lady Bug — a 1945 foal Barnes originally purchased for $1,000 and bought and sold several times over the years before buying her back for keeps in 1955 — and other horses produced at Lady Bug Stallion Station, they established a line that is still having a huge impact on the sport today.
FL Lady Bug’s son, Lady Bugs Moon, was part of an historic running of the All-American back in 1968 when he finished second in a 10-horse field where the second through fifth-place finishers were all bred by the Barnes.
Trained for the track first by Barnes and later by J.B. Montgomery, Lady Bug’s Moon won the first leg of the Ruidoso Downs triple crown, the Kansas Futurity, and then finished second in the other two, by a head in the Rainbow Futurity and a nose in the American Futurity.
Lady Bug’s Moon also was third in the Oklahoma Futurity that season and returned the next season to win the Rainbow Derby. Retired at the end of his sophomore season, Lady Bug’s Moon left the track with a 23-11-5-3 record and $191,536.
At stud, the stallion sired 15 crops of foals. Of those foals, 770 were starters, including 491 winners, 40 stakes winners and the earners of $4,031,691. At the time of his death in 1995 he was the fifth-ranked broodmare sire in the industry. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Lives have been changed all over the world because of FL Lady Bug,” Marvin told Ada Evening News sports writer Bob Forrest in 2009. “Corona Cartel, First Down Dash, Holland Ease (three of Quarter Horse racing’s top stallions) all trace back to her.” In 1982, Marvin and Lela Barnes ran first and second in the Grade 1 All American Futurity with Mr Master Bug and Miss Squaw Hand at Ruidoso Downs.
“Nobody’s ever done that before,” Marvin said at the time. “And that was the first time anybody ever got $1 million for winning a horse race.”
Barnes runners are estimated to have earned over $5 million in purses, with more than $1.7 million of that total coming from Mr Master Bug.
“I’ve won every stakes race run at Ruidoso,” Marvin said. “Mr Master Bug (whose earnings total would have been higher if he hadn’t been disqualified after winning the All-American Derby at Ruidoso in 1983) is still a leading money-winning Quarter Horse.”
Marvin, who had trimmed his operation significantly since his glory days in the 1960s, ‘70s and 80s, still lived on the ranch he and Lela built near Ada.
Marvin was preceded in death by his wife Lela, a son Mike Barnes, step-son Jerry Vaughn Whittle, his parents, brothers and sisters. He is survived by a sister, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Horse racing was a family affair as Marvin was also preceded in death by his brother-in-law A.F. Stanley, Jr., who co-bred First Down Dash, and stepson Jerry Vaughn Whittle raced numerous stakes winners including Dash For Cash Derby(G1) winner Showcase Six.
Funeral services are pending with Criswell Funeral Home in Ada and will be updated on StallioneSearch as soon as they become available.
Suzanne ClemonsMy condolences to your family - The Whittles and the Underhills go back a long way in time - my mother, Jean Underhill Marcum loved Marvin and Lela as she would her own family-Almeda is my neighbor and has kept me abreast of Marvin's health over the last few years -you daddy, Jerry, knows us all - tell Jerry Luci died last year and my mother did in 2002 - Just Keith and I now - Marvin had a full life and I know how proud you all must have been of him but now he is back in the saddle again !!! Suzanne Underhill Clemons
We have had several inquiries about our Winter Mixed Sale catalogs. Our staff is working hard to have these in hand before Christmas. We are excited about the selection of stock in the industry's first sale of 2017. If you aren't already on the mailing list and would like to be added, please either private message your contact information or call the office at 405-682-4551. Thank you! www.heritageplace.com #HeritagePlaceWinterMixedSale
Make Plans to Attend: Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale January 19, 20 & 21, 2017 • Oklahoma City, OK ... See MoreSee Less