05/10/2013 12:47PM

California breeder Newcomb dies at 83


David Newcomb, a longtime Northern California breeder who bred the highest-priced California-bred to be sold at public auction, died on April 28. He was 83.

Newcomb, a native of Newport, R.I., moved west to attend college in Utah and subsequently became involved in the horse business, starting Walking G Ranch in Taylorsville, Calif., near Sacramento, during the 1950s. In addition to breeding horses, Newcomb operated summer youth camps at the ranch for over 50 years, including horse care as part of the activities.

Newcomb had his greatest early success breeding Quarter Horses, but began building up his Thoroughbred breeding operation during the early 1990s. In 2003, he purchased the unraced Avenue of Flags mare Sookloozy at the Barretts October mixed sale in foal to 2000 Preakness winner Red Bullet. He sold the resulting colt for $190,000 to Dapple Bloodstock, as agent, at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale, personally driving the horse over 2,400 miles to the auction in Kentucky.

The colt, from Red Bullet’s first crop, was pinhooked by Ciaran and Amy Dunne’s Wavertree Stables agency as a juvenile to the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training and purchased by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum for $2.5 million. Named Unbridled’s Slew, he never made it to the racetrack.

Newcomb, a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association since 1981, is survived by his children John Eric Cadenhead, Heather Kingdon and Heidi Pace, along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.