Larry & Marianne Williams
Tamarando, Del Mar Futurity, Del Mar, 4th September 2013
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Sire: Bertrando. Dam: Tamarack Bay
For relative newcomers to Thoroughbred racing, Larry and Marianne Williams have done remarkably well from their Tree Top Ranches near Boise, Idaho, in just 13 years. “They started from scratch,” said Dan Kiser, a former trainer at Les Bois Park who became Tree Top’s Equine Manager. “Mr. Williams is a real upbeat, nice person. He treats people nicely and good things seem to happen for him.”
Both Larry and Marianne are from the tiny town of Midvale, Idaho. They married there and moved their young family from Midvale to Boise in 1966. They have three children: Cris, Cory, and Cari. Larry became founder and president of the Idaho Timber Company, and its success allowed the Williams to dive into Thoroughbred racing.
“My family owned Quarter Horses, but they were mostly ranch stock, horses you worked cattle with,” Larry told Debra Ginsburg in her November, 2004, story in California Thoroughbred. “I don’t think I went to more than two races in my entire life before we became Thoroughbred owners ourselves.”
Initially, they contemplated investing in Quarter Horses. A trip to Kentucky convinced them to go with Thoroughbreds instead. They were smart enough to solicit advice from people who have known success in the business, including bloodstock agent Tim McMurry of Fleetwood Bloodstock, trainers Jerry Dutton and Cliff Sise Jr., and Idaho breeders Donnie and Judy McFadden. “They have all been instrumental in leading us down the right path,” Larry told Ginsburg.
McMurry selected the Williams’ first purchase, a yearling filly by Dehere at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2000. The Williams paid $35,000 for her, named her Tamarack Bay, and watched with delight as she earned $210,000. She then produced four winners, including Tamarando, from her first four starters.
Three years before they bought Tamarack Bay, the Williams purchased 700 acres in Parma, Idaho, and built Tree Top Ranch. They keep about 20 mares at Tree Top and send eight mares to Kentucky. The Kentucky foals are pointed to the sales. The Idaho mares are bred to California stallions and race as homebreds hoping to cash in on the rich California breeding program. About a month before the Idaho mares are to foal, they are sent to California to have their babies and then be bred back.
Longtime supporters of Boise State University, the Williams have contributed generously to the college’s academic and athletic initiatives including the expansion of the Boise University Broncos Football Stadium. In 2005, the Williams donated a 72-acre park to the City of Boise, which was named Marianne Williams Park. Many times, the Williams donate to good causes anonymously.
They were pretty anonymous in Thoroughbred racing, but that seems to be changing every day. Tamarando’s half-length win in the Del Mar Futurity has really put their names out there.