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The Inside Track

Mabee Comatose After Stroke

April 20, 2002|Bill Christine

John Mabee, a founding member of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and owner and breeder of top horses in California for more than 30 years, was listed in critical condition Friday at the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.

Mabee, 80, was breathing with the help of a respirator, according to a statement from the Del Mar track. Mabee was discovered by his wife, Betty, on Sunday, when he suffered his second stroke in two years while showering at their Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona. Mabee has been comatose since his recent stroke. In April of 2000, he was left with minor speech problems after a stroke, but later returned to running the family's breeding and racing operation on a limited basis.

Part of a group that took over the operation of Del Mar in 1970, Mabee became track president in 1978 and in 1990 was elected board chairman. Mabee resigned as chairman last November. Betty Mabee, an active partner with her husband of 60 years in the Golden Eagle operation, was elected to the Del Mar board in January.

The Mabees won Eclipse Awards for champion breeder in 1991, 1997 and 1998. Their crowning achievement has been Best Pal, who when he was retired in 1996 had won 17 stakes and earned $5.6 million.

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