12/15/2011 4:34PM

The Lou Lepper Christmas cards: 1950


You might think from looking at the picture of these two equine aristocrats that they were brother and sister. But they aren’t even related, unless of course, you want to back to little Mr. Eohippus, who lived a few zillion years ago. They are a couple of weanlings on the farm in Kentucky and I have high hopes that, when they are old enough to go to the races in 1952 as two-year-olds, they are going to be a big help in paying that feed bill. They have the bluest of blood in their veins and you can see for yourself that, even though still at the awkward age, they have real speed lines.

What are their names? I can’t tell you that because I haven’t decided myself what to call them. You see, in racing circles, an owner does not have to decide on a name until the second birthday of the colt or filly. It’s a good idea, too, to take your time – better than the human custom of doing it in a hurry and maybe getting into a lot of arguments as to whether the baby should be named after the Father’s folks or Mother’s. Of course, Mother always wins in the end, but meanwhile the argument may get highly acrimonious.

The filly on the right is by War Jeep out of my good race mare Lady Hairan. Of course, she is “quality” with that breeding – couldn’t help being. If I’m any judge of fillies – and I’ve been around a bit – she is just about as gorgeous as anything that ever stood on four legs at that age. She was foaled January 26, 1950, so she was not quite ten months old when this informal snapshot was made.

The colt on the left belongs to one of the “First Families” of the turf, too. His sire was Devil Diver and his dam was my wonderful mare, Murmuring. I’ve told you a lot about her from time to time. He was foaled last Memorial Day, which ought to be a good omen, as a lot of big stake races are run on that holiday. Therefore, he was five months old when the picture was taken and that accounts for the difference in size of the two youngsters. His daddy is one of the very best horses of the last few years, sired by St. Germains, who was famous for his fine line of progeny. Devil Diver belongs to the famous Whitney stable and those people don’t have any bad horses very long. Incidentally, both of these horses will be one year old, according to the racing formula, on January 1. That’s every horse’s birthday in the records.

You will notice a strong resemblance between these two animals. Each is a rich chestnut color, with a big white blaze down the middle of the face. The filly has white stockings on her hind legs, making her kind of an equine bobby-soxer. But unlike the other bobby-soxers, she’s not a Sinatra fan. She prefers the voice of the groom announcing that dinner’s ready.

Horses, like humans, always have a particular pal and these two are no exception. She’s sure that he’s going to be another Man-O-War and he’s sure that she’s doing to be the second filly in history to win the Kentucky Derby; a lady hoss named Regret did in 1915, you know.

All this is prelude to wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I sincerely hope that Santa Claus brings you something that will please you as much as these two little weanlings please me, and that in 1951 every post will be a winning post for you, whatever the distance you run or the weight you carry.
                                                                                             Lou Lepper

This was Mr. Lepper's final Christmas greeting.  He died on March 1, 1951 at age 66.

(Deep Dip, 1950, by Devil Diver - Murmuring, placed twice in 18 starts and earned $440. 

Iamarose, 1950 ch. f. by War Jeep - Lady Hairan. Started twice at 3, no wins, places, thirds or earnings. Produced 6 foals, 5 winners: Gooder (Mr. Good, 1957), Go Good (Mr. Good, 1958), Quincy Good (Mr. Good 1959), Quincy Bux (f, Moolah Bux, 1966), Deep Sun Jr.. (Deep Sun, 1967). Her placed foal was Quincy Rambler (f, Mr. Good, 1960). Quincy Bux had a 1987 Louisiana Slew filly named Rafaella, who had an unnamed Secret Run colt in 2009 bred in New Mexico.)

Above:  Mr. Lepper's obituary in the Detroit News.

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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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Rol Herriges More than 1 year ago
What an extraordnary Christmas story! Thank you for sharing it with the world. Mr. Lepper's prose shows a love of people, horses (plus his dog Cloudie) and his country that could truly lead to "Peace on Earth" if only millions of us would follow that path.
April Smith More than 1 year ago
Every year, my husband and my sons grumble about our family Christmas photo with our horses. Yet everyone comments on them and some tell me that they save them. Now I can point out to them that I am not the only one. (I even did a Mary, Joseph and our burro shot one year). Thanks for a wonderful article!. >
ruffianruns More than 1 year ago
I sit here now with tears spilling from my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing Lou Lepper's Christmas Cards. I am overwhelmed with renewed faith in humanity, and I am so grateful that you are one to appreciate Lepper's very loving and generous life.
Celeste More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful find on e-bay!! Thank you so much for sharing these treasures with the rest of us and creating a new opportunity to learn about the passion for horses and racing from the past. I'm unable to find the right words to express how cool I think these are and how happy I am that you have found them and shared them. Thank you!!
Julie June Stewart More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful Christmas tribute. And it is such a comfort to know that these cards landed in the hands of Barbara Livingston. Even though life is so hectic right now, I stopped and clicked on each card to learn more about Lou Lepper and his beloved horses. I think he would love to know that his Christmas cards are still being admired after all these years...... Love it! Thank you BL.... Merry Christmas....
Patricia Lee More than 1 year ago
Dear Barbara: These are so touching in many ways. Thank you for obtaining them and for presenting them to us, including giving us all of Mr. Lepper's comments. I consider this your Christmas present to us. What a generous spirit he had, what pleasure he took from life and his horses, and transmitted to others. Goodwill to men -- this is Mr. Lepper's legacy. His kind statements and wishes to his friends make me feel quite stingy in my little "Merry Christmas" to my friends and family. This was really wonderful, thank you.
Jack Pasternac More than 1 year ago
Who could forget War Jeep? I loved this son of the great War Admiral who after losing the Big Match Race to Seabiscuit made his next start in the Rhode Island Handicap at ol’ Narragansett Park. I got to know his son, Go Jeep Go, who was by I’ll Go Far and won 28 races. Any old collection is a treasure, but this great collection of Christmas Cards really shines like some great awakening. Thanks so much for sharing your much appreciated talents. JP