12/15/2011 4:14PM

The Lou Lepper Christmas cards: 1945


1945 Christmas cardMay good fortune be your running
mate this holiday Season and
throughout the year.
                          Lou Lepper


When I tell you my name is “Off-Islander,” you probably will say that’s an odd name for a horse. I thought so, too, until I learned why Lou Lepper gave it to me. It seems that down on Nantucket Island, where a lot of Lou’s pals go in the summertime, the natives refer to anyone who wasn’t born on the little speck in the Atlantic Ocean as an “off-islander.”  They’re such a clannish lot, those Nantucket people, that when they go to the mainland they speak of “visiting the United States.”

Well, generally speaking, the Nantucket natives don’t think too much of “off-islanders,” but they say that if one has a good figure and conformation it is possible to break down their prejudice and win a place in their affections. I’ll let you judge by my picture whether I have those things. Anyway, Lou’s good friend, Wm. T. Barbour, suggested the name and that’s the way you are going to see it on your racing programs next season.

Another “islander” angle is that my old man, or sire, as we say around the stables, was foaled in Ireland. His name is Isolator. You all know my dam, Opera Bouffe, because her picture was used on one of Lou’s Christmas cards. She’s blind but she’s the nicest mother in the world. You also know my half-brother, Song of War, who made quite a place for himself in track news. He’s a pretty good sort of a fellow, and I don’t think he will mind sharing the limelight with me if I can make the grade.

Now that we are on the subject of family, I might mention that I have a second cousin whom I’m sure you know. His name is Whirlaway. He is the fellow who won the Kentucky Derby in 1941 in the fastest time ever made. His grandfather and mine was that great horse, Blandford. Lou has hopes that maybe I’ll be another “Whirly.” But of course everybody who owns a racehorse hopes that. I’m going to be just two years old on New Year’s Day, so I still have plenty of time to show my qualifications as a Derby candidate.

Lou joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This is the first time in four years that this time-honored greeting could have its fullest meaning and it comes right from the heart. The war is over and the boys are coming home. Lou and I believe that to most of our friends this is an assurance of all the good things we so sincerely wish for you.

(Off-Islander was to suffer a tragic end in 1948 on the racetrack.  His record and additional information appear at the end of the 1947 card blog)

The Lou Lepper Christmas cards

Click images for a closer look at each card and to read Lepper's Christmas messages. All Christmas card images by Barbara D. Livingston from her collection.

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