Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
This is the beginning of one of the more interesting people in country music - his early days on the radio in the Los Angeles area, recording artist, prolific songwriter, horse race owner, ran for Congress and President, converted by Billy Graham, his work for Youth for Christ. This is just the intro to this biography that we are starting to sketch out.
To date, this page includes five appendices:
In the coming weeks, additional chapters will be added covering various aspects of Stuart's life and hopefully in a logical manner subject wise.
El Lobo and Horse Racing
Braven Dyer interviewed Stuart for his "The Sports Parade" column in The Los Angeles Times. But by this time, horse racing had become a part of his life. Journalists covering horse racing were calling Hamblen's El Lobo the "poor man's Seabiscuit."
During a blackout in California horse racing in late 1941, Hamblen decided to buy a few horses for his ranch. A fellow by the name of Edwin Janss had five horses he was willing to sell and gave him another one. The price tag for all six was $2,500. That occurred in the spring of 1942.
When he came home with the six horses, his sister went to a fortuneteller and told Stuart that "the brown colt with the stripe down its back was the coming champion." Oberia wrote in her book that Stuart was ready to sell the horse for $4,500, a princely sum back then. Oberia and Suzy had to sit Stuart down and explain why they wanted him to keep him. He was stubborn, but eventually saw how convincing they were and agreed to keep El Lobo He first thought it would be the one named Rattle-de-Bang. But that was not to be as the horse was claimed in its first start at Bay Meadows race track in the Bay Area.
He took another look and found that the one that would become El Lobo was of similar marking. By the time of the interview, El Lobo had been in 10 races and had won six times. He said the group on his radio program over KFWB called El Lobo "the Hillbilly Whirlaway."
How did the horse get its name? When he and the band did personal appearances at the dances, the girls would pass by the stage area and give him a look and he'd give them a wink back and smile. His wife nicknamed him "The Wolf". And then the Spanish version of that is "El Lobo.
The horse was the son of Boxthorn.
Hamblen trained his own horses and he had an unorthodox way of training El Lobo. He would never run him around the main track, he would just have him do a canter out on the warm up oval.
But when it came time to run its first race, Hamblen could not find a jockey to ride the horse. Finally a youngster named Bill Bailey volunteered to ride him in his first race and he won! (NOTE: A chronological history of El Lobo's racing history can be found in Appendix E.)
By that time he only had two horses left of the ones he bought from Janss. One was Shuffle Toe which happened to be the one that was added to the sale.
The horse began to win races.
El Lobo was involved in a plane accident in March of 1947. Stuart had pioneered flying horses to venues for racing. El Lobo was flown to race at Bay Meadows race track in the Bay Area. Flying Tiger Airlines had filed suit against Stuart for non-payment of the air fare of $1,044. Hamblen's attorney was going to produce photographic evidence of the incident, but the suit was dismissed on technical grounds as Hamblen's attorney had requested the airline produce and exemplified copy of their charter - something that was usually conceded factor in civil court action. In addition, Judge Ida May Adams ordered the airline to pay court costs and the $16 per day room and board bill at the Los Angeles Turf Club since January 27, 1948, the date the airline made an attachment to collect. Subsequent to that proceeding, Hamblen filed a lawsuit claiming El Lobo incurred $50,000 in injuries and was not "properly assisted when he alighted from the plane" which caused him to fall and sustain the injuries. In October 1948, Stuart and his wife Veeva (Susie) found themselves in court. This time it was due to a lawsuit arising from their purchase of a ten acre property on June 16, 1947 at a tax sale that was located at 1110 Foothill Boulevard. Complaints were filed by Sterling M. Paling and Lowery B. McCaslin against the Hamblen's and the city of Arcadia. They claim the tax sale was not proper as procedures were not followed. The Hamblen's had paid Arcadia $19,000 and paid $9,000 in back taxes. The pair filing the suit had defaulted on taxes in 1932. Judge Jon Gee Clark took the case under consideration. On March 10, 1949, Judge Clark ruled in favor of the Hamblen's. The Judge ruled the Paling and McCaslin lost the property as of September 28, 1942. The result meant El Lobo would be able to stay at the stables on the property they had purchased. El Lobo died on November 12, 1950 after being hit by an automobile when he apparently leaped over his enclosure. The Los Angeles Times reported that the horse's biggest win was the San Antonio Handicap in 1947 as a six year old; he won $50,000. It was estimated the horse won over $118,000 in purses over the years. On June 16, 1951, Hamblen filed suit in Superior Court against Stewart W. Anderson of Arcadia for $25,000 in damages for the death of El Lobo.
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