04/24/2002 11:00PM

Mabee, owner of Best Pal, dead at 80

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Prominent California breeder and owner John Mabee died Wednesday in Del Mar, Calif. less than a week after suffering a major stroke. He was 80-years-old.

Mabee, along with his wife Betty, founded Golden Eagle Farm, one of California's most successful breeding and racing operations. Together, the Mabees campaigned stakes winners including Best Pal, General Challenge, Excellent Meeting, Event of the Year, and Dramatic Gold, just to name a few.

The Mabees won three Eclipse Awards for outstanding breeder, and were the leading breeders in North America in 1992.

In addition to owning and breeding Thoroughbreds, John Mabee served as president and chairman of the board of Del Mar, and also was a founding member of the board of directors of Breeders' Cup Ltd.