Golden Eagle Farm, a 560-acre horse-breeding operation in Ramona, will close October 31, according to the Daily Racing Form. It was founded by the late John and Betty Mabee in 1972 and at one time had 400 horses on the property. It was considered one of California's top farms and got national recognition.
John Mabee started a small grocery store that grew into the Big Bear chain of 30 stores, which he sold in 1991. Mabee was controversial: he bought the Golden Eagle Insurance company in 1984. It was not highly rated. The California Department of Insurance, worried about the amount of debt on the company, seized it in 1997. For awhile, Mabee owned 20 percent of the Chargers.
John Mabee died in 2002 and Betty died in 2010. Their son, Larry, died in 2012.