She Had The Creme Of The Crop Long Before This Year's Belmont "Believe It Or Not, A Profit Year Is Kind Of Rare In This Business," Elizabeth Moran Says.

Posted: June 11, 1993

Elizabeth Moran owns 40 percent of last week's Belmont Stakes winner - that's 40 percent of $445,000 - but racing horses is not her primary

financial interest. It's just that she loves it.

She has dozens of horses on 205 acres of prime Malvern real estate, but she doesn't get sentimental about them. "Horses are stocks and bonds to me," she says, laughing.

"It's strictly a business," she says. But as she talks she's feeding candy and crooning softly to Creme Fraiche, a big, frisky gelding who gives every indication of being glad to see her, too.

"Betty" Moran's primary interest is breeding her 22 broodmares and selling the weanlings. Owning prime racers, for her, is just icing on the cake.

Except for Creme Fraiche, who turned out to be the whole cake.

She paid $160,000 for him in 1983, a price her family insisted was much too high. By the time she retired the horse in 1989, he had won the 1985 Belmont Stakes, had 17 wins, 12 seconds and 13 thirds in 64 starts, and was the fourth-largest wage-earning thoroughbred of all time, having brought home more than $4 million in purse money.

"Don't get the idea that things are always that rosy," she said. "I once paid $1 million for a colt that never even raced. I eventually sold him for $6,000."

The high risks of racing convinced Moran that joint ownership is the best route.

"Buying shares is a way to spread the risks," she said.

That is how she ended up owning 40 percent of Colonial Affair, last week's Belmont winner.

There are risks enough in her principal business, breeding, Moran says.

"I expect to make a profit this year," she said. "Believe it or not, a profit year is kind of rare in this business."

As a young woman, Moran said she had no idea she would even be in "this business." In fact, she didn't even learn to ride until she went to Wyoming on a vacation after graduating from high school. She majored in biology in

college and thought she might pursue a career as a research scientist.

Then, in 1951, Elizabeth Ranney married J. Maxwell Moran and settled down in Chester Count,y where they raised six children.

The whole family was interested in horses. She joined the Radnor Hunt Club and began riding in the Radnor Races, which she now chairs. She also began participating in horse shows. She and her eldest daugher, Franny, won the parent-child competition at the Devon Horse Show one year.

In the late 1970s, she began acquiring race horses and, through the years, she began to concentrate more and more on breeding horses.

"But it is hard to give up the excitement of racing altogether," she said.

Racing is just one of the things that make Moran, now a widow, one of the busiest people in Chester County. Besides chairing Radnor Races, an annual event, she is active in her church, St. David's Episcopal in Wayne, and serves as a volunteer at Paoli Memorial Hospital.

She's a board member of the Brandywine Conservancy and works to preserve open space in Chester County.

A former Pennsylvania champion squash player, she still plays tennis and golf as often as she can, which, she says, is not nearly often enough.

She has 14 grandchildren and says she would like to become "a professional grandmother," if she had the time.

"I sometimes wonder if I'm just too busy," Moran said. "But, on the other hand, if I wasn't busy, I would be wondering why not. Besides, I love what I'm doing, so I don't mind being busy."

As for the future, Moran says she wants to develop a reputation for breeding "classic thoroughbreds." She spends a lot of time studying pedigrees to find the best matches for her broodmares.

But no matter how busy she gets, she wants to find time to watch Colonial Affair run.

His next race: at Saratoga, N.Y., in August.

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