John C. Mabee
24, 2002 (aged 80)|
Sports team owner
| Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder|
(1991, 1997, 1998)
A native of Seymour, Iowa, as a young man of twenty, John Mabee moved to San Diego, California due to its climate that was more suitable to his health problems, having suffered from pneumonia and bronchitis. There, he established Johnny's Market on 43rd Street. He turned that corner grocery store into the highly successful Big Bear Supermarket chain, selling it in 1991.
In 1957, he entered Thoroughbred horse racing, purchasing three yearlings at the Del Mar auction. His involvement led to him and wife, Betty establishing a breeding farm Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona, California that the NTRA says became one of the most important in that state's history. They bred more than 170 stakes winners and seven millionaire horses, the most famous of which was Best Pal. The Mabees earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1991, 1997, and 1998. John Mabee served as a director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and was a member of the The Jockey Club from 1985 to his death in 2002. In addition, he was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. He served as the racing facility's president and then its chairman for close to twenty-five years. Mabee was also one of the original members of the Board of Directors of Breeders' Cup Limited.
For a time, John Mabee owned a twenty percent interest in the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League.
John Mabee died of a stroke in 2002. The John C. Mabee Handicap at Del Mar Racetrack is named in his honor.