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Owner Durst Dead at 89

Sep 29, 2021
Owned Stakes Winner Lil’s Lad

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Murray Durst, the colorful owner of the graded-stakes winner and one-time favorite for the 1998 Kentucky Derby Lil’s Lad, passed away Monday at the age of 89.

Durst, born in Queens, New York in 1932, was the son of Austrian and Polish-Jewish immigrants who became founder and CEO of companies engaged in medical insurance fraud detection. He originally purchased Lil’s Lad as a yearling for $160,000 before selling interests to William Farish and Centennial Farm. An extremely fast colt, Lil’s Lad was second in the 1997 Champagne Stakes (G1) and was favored in the 1998 Florida Derby (G1) after easily winning the Fountain of Youth (G2) over Coronado’s Quest. But Lil’s Lad was disqualified from first and placed second in the Florida Derby for bumping Cape Town down the stretch.

After finishing second to Halory Hunter in the Blue Grass (G2), Lil’s Lad was withdrawn from the ’98 Triple Crown three weeks before the Derby due to a chip in his left front ankle. The colt would return in 1999 for three races including seventh-place finishes in the Churchill Downs Handicap (G2) and Metropolitan Handicap (G1).

Durst, who arrived at Gulfstream on race days in a purple, limited edition Indianapolis 500 Corvette, ran horses in his name and with his wife Lillian. He also chronicled his life in the book “The Baker – True Stories of my Life and Exploits, along with Photos from Yesteryear and the Present…500 Years of Adventures Crammed into 79".

Services will be held Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Sharon Gardens, 273 Lakeview Avenue, Valhalla, N.Y.

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