A Salute to Horse Racing!

Mrs. W on the other hand was a petite little lady with a mil- lion dollar smile and at least 6,000 watts of pure energy she was ready to expend at any given time. This lady loved the simple joy of just being alive, but not as much as she loved Mr. W. When Barbara would wear her bright yel- low dress and Audrey Hep- burn broad- brimmed black hat to the track (to match the Walter’s dis- tinctive

From the Sonoma County Fair to big stakes races, their win- ner’s circle was expanding.

The Upbeat Times is...A paper publishing only good news since 1998! ... continued from page 2

budget, he said nope…a bud- get’s a budget and you finish with whatever you have left. So Barbara thought about that a bit and called some dear friends in San Francisco asking

if they

could round up some upholstery fabric for her (and of course, the dear friends were none other than the Haas family of “Levi Strauss” fame). Barbara then recovered all of Vine Hill’s couches chairs

and in bumble bee-colored

racing silks), some folks as- sumed she was simply there for decoration…but boy were they wrong. She was an expert on sire blood lines, horse ancestry and past performance for every single animal in their stable (which totaled 175 horses by the mid-1990’s). With Bob’s outstanding horse skills and Barbara’s bloodline knowledge they became a formidable rac- ing team, setting out to prove you could breed stakes winners without half million dollar stal- lions and mares. The Walters (who were the former owners of the 1,700 acre Fountain Grove Ranch in Santa Rosa) purchased the 550 acre Vine Hill Ranch in Forestville from apple growers Bob and Ann Halberg in 1983, and

they immediately went

to work transforming the for- mer apple farm into a stable of champions. Bob would chuckle as he’d tell you, “Look how the grass comes up here before spring even starts. Those Ken- tucky boys don’t have this.” By December of 1994 Mr. W said he never thought it was going to take as long or be as much work when they started…but once they got rolling, what a magical achievement it was.

Throughout it all, Mr. and Mrs. W were as inseparable as a couple as they were as business partners. Their eyes sparkled when they talked about each other, and I don’t think I ever saw them walk past each other without a gentle touch or smile. Parties at their house were wonderful, too…but not for the reasons you’d think. Yes, the food, drinks and flowers (espe- cially orchids) were magazine cover material, but their par- ties were wonderful because the Walter’s social ladder truly had no rungs. One minute you might be talking to one of the young men who cleaned sta- bles for them and the next min- ute you could be talking to for- mer Secretary of State George Schultz or his lovely wife, (and Barbara’s best girlfriend) Char- lotte Mailliard Swig. Mr. and Mrs. W were just down-to-earth good


people, and if you simply loved living life (and horses), you were part of their crowd. Even their infrequent arguments were great fun. When Mr. W gave Barbara a very limited budget for a redecorating proj- ect she used almost all of it im- mediately on two oriental rugs she fell in love with. When she asked Mr. W to increase the

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anaïs Nin UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • August 2018 • 7 blue

Levis jeans mate- rial and achieved

“rustic elegance” long before it was a style (and as Mr. W would say fondly, “She came in under budget”). Nightly domi-

... continued on page 19

As you can see, your paper is a big hit with my family Back East. This is my sister, MJ Sheridan. She lives in NY and she likes Upbeat Times too. Monroe NY is the birthplace of Velvee- ta Cheese. After her 1st visit here my sister was convinced that Velveeta must surely be outlawed in Sonoma County....Sebasto- pol without a doubt. ~ Happy Days! Eileen Morabito

UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • August 2018 • 7 Upbeat in Monroe, NY!

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