California breeder/owner Larry Mabee died Sunday, Dec. 16, of prostate cancer at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Mabee, 69, operated Golden Eagle Farm near Ramona, Calif.
Mabee died with his family at his side. Family members present included his wife, Christine, and a son, John, plus daughters Laura and Melissa. A funeral service will be private.
Mabee's late father and mother, John and Betty Mabee, built Golden Eagle into one of North America's leading outfits starting in 1957 when they bought two horses at Del Mar. During their time at the helm, the couple was represented as breeders and/or owners by numerous grade I winners including Best Pal, Designed for Luck, Early Pioneer, Dramatic Gold, Excellent Meeting, Favorite Funtime, General Challenge, Golden Treat, Likeable Style, Magical Allure, River Flyer, and River Special.
Larry Mabee and his mother, who died in 2010, nine years after her husband passed away, bred several stakes winners including California champion Evening Jewel and Saucey Evening. One of North America's top 3-year-old fillies of 2010, Evening Jewel won that year's Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I), the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), and two California grade II stakes. Her stakes-placings that year included runner-up efforts in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and a third in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I). Evening Jewel was voted Cal-bred Horse of the Year and best 3-year-old filly.
Saucey Evening was named state-bred champion 2-year-old filly of 2008 after winning the California Breeders' Champion Stakes and the California Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes. She ran fourth, beaten just two lengths, in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Oak Tree.
Larry Mabee, in a different partnership, was co-breeder of two-time graded stakes winner Marshua's River.
At one time Golden Eagle Farm had 800 horses on the Ramona property. The farm has been reduced to about 50 horses in recent years.
According to a farm release, a decision has not been reached as to the farm's future, but speculation is that it will remain operating at its current capacity.