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Tell Me About This Place

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  • Tell Me About This Place


    What did Fred Astaire do there? Horses, farm, citrus? Or was this too far away for groves at that time?

    "Later the ranch was owned by a thoroughbred breeder with horses that ran in the Triple Crown," Any idea what breeder they mean? What horses ran in the TC?

    Sales site says 7/8 mile track, but the current Paso breeders own site says 5/8 mile track. Which is it?

    Neat that is has a 2 mile tree covered "European" gallop. At least someone at some point did more than jog the wrong way & then off to a full work.

    TIA for any info.
    "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."

  • #2
    Fred Astaire likely had horses. Remember, he was married to jockey Robyn Smith.


    • Original Poster

      Had no idea he was married to a jockey. Learned something new.
      "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."


      • #4
        More than you'd want to know about Fred Astaire His marriage to Robyn was a bit scandalous... she was about 45 years younger than he was.


        • #5
          Regarding the property I'm pretty sure it is Blue Valley Ranch (if it is the Fred Astaire property) which was his thoroughbred breeding farm in the San Fernando Valley. From a Fred Astaire fan site in regards to Fred and his first wife Phyllis:

          When he returned home to his family, he and Phyllis decided to sell the ranch in Escondido and buy a larger one for their horses, adding brood mares and enlarging their stock. Horses were now a major part of their lives and energies. The new Blue Valley Ranch in Chatsworth was only an hour's drive from their home so they could visit on weekends and Holidays with the children sharing the (then) open land.
          Robyn is best known as the forever hottie jock on the cover of Sports Illustrated (July 31, 1972) although she was riding for Alfred Vanderbilt not because of her looks but skills. Interesting in the 10-years of professional riding she never suffered any serious injuries.

          Fred was like much of old Hollywood was accustomed to going to the track and like Bing Crosby he owned many. A reflection from a former English jockey about meeting Fred back in the day. He knew the sport, the horses, the breeding, the tracks, etc

          The funny thing is that nobody in Fred's family had ever been interested in racing and yet his mother told me that when Fred and his sister Adele first hit New York he was often missing in the afternoon. He was visiting Belmont Park Aqueduct and other places of historical interest where the thoroughbreds were running.

          Fred says the blood of some old Kentucky colonels must have crept in somewhere. He knew practically every owner, trainer and jockey in England in the Twenties and he really loved the game. He was fascinated by the colour of the whole business. The bookmakers also attracted him more than somewhat.

          In America he had a top-class handicapper called Triplicate who won the $100,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and other big-stakes races, so Fred is well ahead of the game.
          Robyn was a bit of mystery and even today isn't well liked by Fred's family. Some background although it's just one source ...

          She was born either Robin Miller on August 14, 1944 or Melody Dawn Constance Palm on August 14, 1942 and her early life was one of foster homes. Taking the name "Smith" from Jane and Orville Smith, one of her foster families, she had tried an acting career, being briefly under contract to Filmways, but, in 1968, a boyfriend took her to Santa Anita and the passion which would become her career was born. Although she received resistance from the male-dominated sport, she persevered and became a winning rider.
          She holds much control of his image rights today. Robyn has been astute and limiting with the use of his name. Example, if you recall the Dirt Devil ad from a decade ago and Fred. It was some of the earliest use of modern video mixed in with historical footage to make it look like he danced with the cleaner. They thought it was insulting where as today that is a-typical for other notable dead stars.

          Today she is private pilot (although has done commerical flying too) still iving in Beverly Hills home she did with Fred.


          • Original Poster

            A lot of great links posted. Thanks for all the info, & I am still searching away out of idle curiousity.

            "The new Blue Valley Ranch in Chatsworth was only an hour's drive from their home so they could visit on weekends and Holidays with the children sharing the (then) open land."

            This farm is in Lompoc. Chatsworth is a good 2 1/2 hours south of Lompoc & much closer to Hollywood. So no, it must not be the same Blue Valley Ranch you mean.
            "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."


            • #7
              Very interesting thread!!! A wealth of info!
              Love the property!!!! So beautiful!


              • #8
                Originally posted by ThisTooShallPass View Post
                This farm is in Lompoc. Chatsworth is a good 2 1/2 hours south of Lompoc & much closer to Hollywood. So no, it must not be the same Blue Valley Ranch you mean.
                Ah - agreed its not one and the same. Although it would appear that Fred back in the day owned a few different places over time with his first wife.

                I wonder if Fred had a hand in the filming of the 1981 movie Ghost Story in Saratoga Springs Compared to movies of now with more visual gore and less subtle fright cues this is rather a tame flick of an old school era. I still enjoy seeing it every now and again.

                By the way here is a video segment with Robyn Smith from 1985 - ah those 1980's looks! I'd half expect to see her at a Junior League meeting with my wife and not on the track


                • Original Poster

                  She absolutely does have that ever classic Junior League look. Wonder what she looks like now? I bet still a very beautiful woman.

                  This Thread has turned out to be far more fun than I ever hoped for.

                  Still would like actual info on the background of this farm though. And who it was that took horses to the Triple Crown.
                  "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                    By the way here is a video segment with Robyn Smith from 1985 - ah those 1980's looks! I'd half expect to see her at a Junior League meeting with my wife and not on the track
                    She comes across as a super lady.

                    And well well....look who's been leaving comments.


                    • #11
                      She worked with me at Belmont. She had a dark blue hunt cap the kind with a button on the top and the bow in the back. I was so jealous of her helmet.


                      • #12
                        Robyn is 71 now. Time flies. After Fred passed she developed a passion for flying.



                        • #13
                          me too :-)
                          Aefvue Farm Ft.Lauderdale