Larry Murray, private trainer for Howard and the late Sondra Bender’s large and successful racing stable, is a well-established professional horseman.
He grew up near Belmont Park, where as a teenager he spent summers and weekends working as a hotwalker. The grandson of a jockey and nephew of successful New England-based trainer Tom Miles, Murray took naturally to racing. Employed by the Phipps racing stable in the late 1960s and early ’70s, he rose to become trainer John Russell’s assistant.
Murray then spent three years working for Murty Brothers’ air-horse transportation service, accompanying horses on worldwide travel, before coming to Maryland in 1979 to manage what was then one of the state’s largest commercial breeding establishments, Glade Valley Farms near Frederick.
He switched to training for the Benders in 1988 following the death of their former trainer Marvin Moncrief. Now, in addition to his training duties, Murray serves as general manager of Glade Valley, which is owned by the Bender family. The Benders were honored as Maryland Breeders of the Year for three consecutive seasons, from 2001 to 2003.
A current MTHA board member elected in 2002 and chairman of the Backstretch and Safety Committee for Laurel Park, Murray and his wife of more than 30 years, Janice, who serves as bookkeeper for the Bender racing stable, live at Glade Valley. They have three grown children.
“I think the major challenge for us in the future is maintaining the number of racing days and year-round stabling,” Mr. Murray said. “That is a huge plus in attracting quality stables to the state. The key is a strong racing product and purse structure. Also, I think more could be done to attract fans to the plant by better marketing and improvements to the physical plant and making the racing experience more pleasurable.”