Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alice Chandler, June 7, 2007

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Childhood and family

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Partial Transcript: Okay, this is Kim Lady Smith.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses her childhood and family, specifically her mother's family. She says that her mother had several brothers and sisters. She says that her mother pushed her to get an education and experience the world. She talks about her mother's interest in art and says that she was a very good artist. She also discusses her grandparents. She describes her three half-sisters as well.

Keywords: Athenia (Steamship); Family; Farms

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms

00:10:00 - Return to the family farm

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Partial Transcript: Again, I want to get back to Christmas.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes experiencing Christmas as a child. She says that her mother liked to decorate the house and was very artistic. She describes her mother as she got older. She also describes living on her family farm in between marriages.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Holidays; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Horses

00:17:03 - Description of her father, Hal Price Headley

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Partial Transcript: Um, let's talk about your dad, um, a little bit more.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes her father, Hal Price Headley, including his background in the horse industry and farms. She says that he was involved with the Saratoga sale. She describes how he heavily participated the horse sales and horse racing. She tells of how he was one of the main leaders of Keeneland racetrack and led the horse races.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Hal Price Headley; Horse industry; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse industry; Horses

00:23:47 - Father's industry partners

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Partial Transcript: Now your dad was an industry leader, but he worked with a lot of people, uh, like Louis Beard at Keeneland.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes some of the people that her father worked with in the horse industry. She describes the Whitney family, Louie Beard, Warner Jones, and "Bull" Hancock. She also discusses Penny Chenery and the horse Secretariat.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Hal Price Headley; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses; Secretariat (Race horse)

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

00:32:00 - Favorite horses

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Partial Transcript: Now we're surrounded--I've asked you before and I know it's been hard to remember, and maybe since we're surrounded by some of these pictures it might jog your memory, uh, about some of your dad's favorite horses.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses her and her father's favorite horses that they had over the years. She names many of them including Rash Statement and Pillow Talk. She describes how she sold both of them to pay for her house, and how hard it was to let them go.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Hal Price Headley; Horse industry; Horses; Pillow Talk (Race horse); Rash Statement (Race horse)

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse industry; Horses

00:35:02 - Father's gambling practice / Her childhood antics

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Partial Transcript: Well let's talk--uh, there was some--uh--thing else we've talked a little bit about your father.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes how she's heard that her father bet on his own horses during races. She also discusses learning to drive a car at the age of 6 and how she drove into the city of Lexington once. She also talks about sneaking onto newly broken yearlings.

Keywords: Betting; Family; Farms; Gambling; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

00:41:11 - Marriage to John Chandler

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Partial Transcript: One the things that's worked out well for you, uh, is, uh, your marriage to John Chandler.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes her marriage to her husband, John Chandler. She says that they were married in South Africa and she met him when he was a veterinarian. She also describes how they spend a lot of time in New England.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Horse industry; Horses; Husbands; Married

Subjects: Families.; Farms; Horse industry; Horses; Marriage

00:45:06 - Breeding practices and desired traits

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Partial Transcript: Now your dad did, uh, breed his ho, horses--a lot of his own horses, right?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses breeding practices as well as desirable traits that one looks for in a colt. She says that they had 127 foals one year and it was the most they ever had.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Fathers; Hal Price Headley; Horse breeding; Horse industry; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse breeding; Horse industry; Horses

00:47:12 - Creating Mill Ridge Farm

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Partial Transcript: Looking back at, at Mill Ridge, when you started it was just you, four men that had worked for your dad, and a few years later you bought--you bought, excuse me--you hired a farm manager.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses establishing Mill Ridge Farm and how she was able to make it as big of an operation as it is today. She says that she did not have a plan and they grew based on word of mouth. She also discusses her mother's opinion of Mill Ridge Farm.

Keywords: Farms; Horse industry; Horses; Mill Ridge Farm; Mothers

Subjects: Farms; Horse industry; Horses

00:49:49 - Attending races

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Partial Transcript: I meant to ask you when we were talking about your dad, uh, the different tracks he went to.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses attending races as a child with her father. She describes going to Suffolk Downs and how her dad snuck her and her sister in because children were not allowed to attend. She also describes attending other races and how her father raced year-round.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Fathers; Hal Price Headley; Horse industry; Horse races; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

00:52:19 - Georgia plantation

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Partial Transcript: Um, there was something in a picture over there.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes how her father bought a 10,000 acre plantation in Georgia to hunt on and train horses in the winter. She says that he spent a lot of time there, especially hunting birds. She says that they sold the land after her father died.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Fathers; Hal Price Headley; Horse industry; Horses

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Farms; Headley, Hal Price, 1888-1962; Horse industry; Horses

00:54:46 - Land preservation

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Partial Transcript: One of the things we talked about last time was your work in terms of preserving land.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the group that she's a member of, Save Our Irreplaceable Land (SOIL), whose goal is to promote the preservation of historical farm land. She says that SOIL has prevented the building of Quest Church. She says that they need to fight to save these farms from urban development.

Keywords: Family; Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses; Land preservation

Subjects: Families.; Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses; Land use, Rural--Kentucky

01:00:21 - Women and horses / Horse welfare

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Partial Transcript: Um, the, uh--in a couple of the articles I've read, you talk about women being somewhat, um, natural with horses, uh, having sort of a nurturing instinct that helps them with horses.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses how she believes that women have a natural connection with horses and they respond to them well. She also discusses how she and other farm owners value the welfare of horses. She talks about how owners do not race horses as often as they used to and they do not seem to be as strong as they used to be. She also talks about polytrack and the success of the track surface.

Keywords: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horsemen and horsewomen--Kentucky; Horses; Women in horse sports

01:11:22 - Breeding and raising horses

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Partial Transcript: There was one thing about Keeper Hill.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses breeding and raising practices. She also talks about the success Mill Ridge Farm has had as a consignor. She also describes how they sell horses at Keeneland and Saratoga.

Keywords: Farms; Horse breeding; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Farms; Horse breeding; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

01:14:48 - Working on the farm

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Partial Transcript: Wouldn't--you're still working on the farm.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler describes how she still works on the farm at her age. She says that her main responsibility is to get the right people to do the jobs she needs. She also discusses how Mill Ridge Farm handles working with high profile horses.

Keywords: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

01:18:35 - Kentucky Thoroughbred Association

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Partial Transcript: One of the things we talked about a little bit last time, and this might be something you want to wait and, and do a little research on again, but als--but KTA.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses her involvement with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. She says that she was an original founder and she says she believed that Kentucky needed its own organization for breeders.

Keywords: Farms; Horse breeding; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses; Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA)

Subjects: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

01:23:08 - Drug reform

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Partial Transcript: I was reading something last night about, uh, the, um, that the racing authority in 2005 was putting forth these new regulations for medication...

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses how the racing authority has created new medication regulations and how some of the horse organizations in Kentucky have responded.

Keywords: Doping; Drugging; Drugs; Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

01:25:59 - Gaming

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Partial Transcript: Uh, but there was, uh, one thing that we had talked about the last time I think I mentioned this to you, the whole issue of gaming.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses gaming at horse tracks. She says that she doesn't believe that slot machines should be at the horse track. She believes that they should be put somewhere else because they will take away from the horse racing. She also discusses being on the board of directors for Keeneland racetrack and being the only woman.

Keywords: Betting; Farms; Gambling; Gaming; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses

Subjects: Farms; Gaming law; Horse industry; Horse racing; Horses