Pico and Sepulveda is one of the most famous intersections in Southern California. The streets are named for men who were as proud of their horses as present day Californians are of their cars. KPCC’s Kitty Felde says it’s another Street Story.
Kitty Felde: You know about comedian Jay Leno and the enormous garage that houses all of his classic cars? He had nothing on Jose Andres Sepulveda.
Barbara Marinacci: Jose Andres was above all a passionate horseman who kept his mounts separately by color – blacks in one corral, sorrel in another.
Felde: Barbara Marinacci wrote California’s Spanish Place Names. In 1852, Sepulveda imported a horse from Australia called the Black Swan. He challenged Pio Pico’s legendary steed Sarco to a nine-mile race.
People came from as far away as San Francisco and San Diego to place a few side bets. At stake was $25,000 in gold, plus a thousand horses, a thousand head of cattle, and 500 sheep. Black Swan crossed the finish line first. Jose Andres Sepulveda won bragging rights and a whole lot of livestock to take home.