Updated on 09/16/2011 7:13AM

Mabee critical after stroke


John Mabee, a three-time Eclipse Award winner as champion breeder, was in critical condition at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif., after suffering a stroke at his Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona, Calif., according to a press release put out by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club late Friday.

Mabee is an original board member of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. He served as the track's president and then its chairman for a total of nearly 25 years before retiring in December. According to the track, the 80-year-old Mabee was stricken while showering at his 568-acre farm and was discovered by his wife of 60 years, Betty. Mabee is in the critical care unit of the hospital, where his breathing is being aided by a respirator.

Mabee also suffered a stroke in April 2000, and that limited his time spent at the track the past two seasons. He still was involved in his farm's operations each day, but was, obviously, not able to do as much as before the stroke.

Mabee won the Eclipse Award as champion breeder in 1991, 1997, and 1998. His best and most popular horse was the homebred gelding Best Pal, who won the inaugural running of Del Mar's Pacific Classic in 1991.