Larry Mabee loves to watch people at the racetrack. The regulars in particular fascinate him because they come every single day and make up the backbone of the sport.
“You need to recognize them,” Mabee said. “You need to say, ‘Hi.’ That fan base literally makes the whole thing worthwhile. They appreciate having somebody appreciate them.” Mabee, 67, has had plenty of opportunities to see the regulars at Del Mar. As the only child of John and Betty Mabee, Larry had a ringside seat in the development of one of California’s all-time leading breeding and owning operations.
The Mabees’ Golden Eagle Farm near Ramona, Calif., turned out such runners as Best Pal, elected in 2010 to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame; General Challenge, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and Pacific Classic (gr. I); and $2.5 million earner Dramatic Gold. The Mabees also stood many stallions and produced a host of good race fillies that went on to build the broodmare band that led to the couple’s three Eclipse Awards as the nation’s top breeders.