C. J. Sebastian

C. J. Sebastian

(1885-1967, Inducted 2006)

Washington’s 1963 turfman of the year, Christian J. “Seb” Sebastian first entered racing on a large scale in 1944 when he went to the Keeneland Sales and purchased 14 yearlings. He had originally just bought 13, but was encouraged not to go home with an “unlucky 13.” The 14th yearling, which he purchased for $1,200, Galla Damion, put the Kirkland breeder on the racing map. As a three-year-old, the son of Sir Damion set a new world’s record for seven furlongs and was considered one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby. He was a three-time stakes winner of $69,790 and became a significant sire in Washington. Another of that fateful group was Blue Tiger, who won the 1949 Longacres Mile in Sebastian’s colors (Galla Damion finished fourth in the $18,200 race). A winner of 20 other races, the gelded son of Tiger earned $64,550. But probably the most significant among that group of yearlings was Dusky Chance, Washington’s 1963 broodmare of the year and dam of four stakes winners, two of which went on to become state champions. Her leading earner, Dusky Damion, a son of Galla Damion, won or placed in 18 stakes races in Washington and California and earned $171,650. Dusky Chance’s second champion, though bred by Sebastian, was raced through most of his career by Ned Skinner and Melville “Jack” McKinstry. Due to health reasons, Sebastian had sold all his Thoroughbred holdings and Kirkland farm in the autumn of 1961. Dr. John H. is the only horse that ever came close to sweeping Longacres top three events, as he won the Washington Futurity, the Longacres Derby and finished second in the Longacres Mile (at three).

Sebastian was Washington’s leading breeder by earnings for three years (1961-1963) and was also leading breeder by races won in 1963. He bred the winners of $631,234, and that was enough to rank him second among all breeders in 1966. Sebastian’s first Washington-bred runner reached the races in 1950 and he had his first statebred winner the following year.

A longtime WTBA member, Sebastian served as a board of trustee for seven years and as president of the organization in 1957.

Read the expanded profile in the WASHINGTON THOROUGHBRED MAGAZINE, June 2008, page 372.