Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

The history of Maryland’s Country Life Farm included many thoughts of its founder, Adolphe Pons, supplied by his son John Pons. One of the best known bloodstock advisors in the 1920s and 1930s, the senior Pons died in December 1951. Among those who had sought his advice over the years were August Belmont, Averell Harriman, Samuel Riddle, Mereworth Farm and Joseph Widener. He sold Discovery for Mereworth Farm to Alfred Vanderbilt.

“One thing he said many times was that daughters of great racemares must always be regarded as good potential broodmares. . . It was his thinking that the racemares themselves had expended too much energy on the tracks to be top producers. . . 

“He had much the same feeling about stallions. His belief with stallions was that great race horses may prove disappointments as progenitors, and, if they do, then acquire their daughters as fast as you can. It was sort of a skipped generation theory.”

Glade Valley Farm in Walkersville, Md., was expanding, as co-owner Dr. Robert Leonard set about to make it the “finest commercial breeding farm in this area.”

One of the first steps was the purchase of two adjacent properties, which tripled the size of the historic farm to 450 acres. 

Glade Valley saw incredible success in the 1930s and 1940s as the birthplace of Horse of the Year Challedon and champion racemare Gallorette, and was the home to their sire, *Challenger II, who died in 1948. When the farm’s owner, William L. Brann, died in 1951, the farm was purchased by Colonel Harry B. Marcus. It was with partners Jack I. Bender and Dr. Leonard that the farm was set to begin its new chapter.


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