Dec 3, 2008


Did you happen to notice that there was no Peb cartoon on the cover of Daily Racing Form on October 25, Breeders’ Cup day? Evidently not many people were aware of its absence for the first time in the history of Breeders’ Cup.

The Form chose to cut ties with beloved artist Pierre Bellocq, citing financial reasons, late in the Saratoga meeting. According to Peb, two DRF employees traveled to his home in Princeton, NJ to deliver the news that he was through. The 82-year-old Frenchman was offered a year’s salary as severance after five decades as the preeminent sporting artist in the world. He also was asked, he said, to sign a promise that he would not “trash” The Form in public.

Not being the type of person to trash anybody, the octogenarian is currently painting a mural at Del Mar. He has in recent years done two Derby themed murals at Churchill Downs and another at Belmont Park

Peb’s whimsical humor brought to life the unique world of Thoroughbred racing. A racing fan started the day with a smile when he picked up The Form and saw Peb’s work on the cover.

His talent was not limited to horses. He was hired by Daily Racing Form owner Walter Annenberg to draw cartoons on the editorial page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was once nominated for a Pulitzer prize. He also joined his son Remi, a cartoonist in his own right, in helping create an international circuit for amateur riders.

Peb’s art adorns the walls of the world’s top racetracks and numerous private collections, including one of Gallagher’s Steak House, just down W. 52nd from The Morning Telegraph. It depicts a mob of recognized celebrities partying in the famed eatery. You.won’t miss Josephine Baker.

Still, it’s a pity that Peb did not get the sendoff he deserved. His legion of fans would have filled Saratoga to say good-bye. A collector’s edition would have sold out thousands of Daily Racing Forms. T-shirts of the elfin Gallic humorist would be all the rage.

Peb has a few irons in the fire at the moment with various racing entities. He won’t need to stand in any baguette lines.