California breeder Walter Thomson dies
WALTER J Thomson, a California breeder since the 1940s, has died aged 98. Thomson was also an early member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and served as its president and as a board member for 10 years.
He started thoroughbred breeding in 1942 and next to Santa Anita Park, and also established the 320-acre Rancho Felicia in the Santa Ynez Valley when his operation grew. Rancho Felicia remained the oldest operating Thoroughbred breeding farm in the central California coastal area until Thomson sold it three years ago, according to his lifelong friend and fellow breeder Bill Nichols.
Nichols and Thomson bred Sea Orbit, the most successful descendant of grandsire Seabiscuit. Sea Orbit, who was out of Thomson's mare Sea Flora, won 22 of 67 races, including 12 stakes races, and earned $291,275 from 1959-63l.