Ethel V. Mars

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Ethel V. Mars
Born 1884 (1884)
Died December 25, 1945 (1945-12-26) (aged 61)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
Resting place Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Residence River Forest, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Businessperson
Known for Milky Way Farm
Spouse(s) Franklin Clarence Mars
Children Forrest Mars

Ethel Veronica Mars (1884 – December 25, 1945) was an American businesswoman and racehorse owner. She was Ethel Veronica Healy prior to her marriage in 1910 to Franklin Clarence Mars, the founder of the Mars Candy company.

In 1930, she and her husband purchased a 2,800 acre property in Giles County, Tennessee where they built Milky Way Farm. There, they raised Hereford cattle as well as bred Thoroughbred racehorses which were trained on a racetrack built on the property.

Thoroughbred racing success

The racing stable of Ethel and Franklin Mars began competing at major eastern United States racetracks in 1934 and following her husband's death that year, Ethel Mars took charge of all operations. Wanting to expand her racing and develop her bloodstock, from 1935 through 1942 she was a major spender for well-bred yearlings at the Saratoga spring sales.[1][2]

In 1936, her Milky Way Farm stable's race winnings totaled $206,450, making the Milky Way Farm stable the year's most successful owner on the United States thoroughbred racing circuit.[3] In 1935, her filly Forever Yours, trained by Robert McGarvey was voted American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. In 1937, her filly Mars Shield won the Kentucky Oaks. Then on May 4, 1940, Ethel Mars had her greatest single achievement in racing with her colt Gallahadion. Trained by Roy Waldron and ridden by Carroll Bierman, Gallahadion won the Kentucky Derby.[4]

Declining health in the years following her Kentucky Derby win saw Ethel Mars wind down her racing and operations.[5] A resident of River Forest, Illinois, Ethel Mars died at age sixty-one on Christmas Day 1945 in La Jolla, California where she had been visiting.[6]