Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Theodore "Ted" Bates, April 15, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Kim Lady Smith.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer, Smith, introduces herself and the interviewee, Ted Bates.

00:01:00 - Early life and family

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Partial Transcript: Okay, Mr. Bates if you could--if we could start and I'll ask you to tell me your full name and when and where you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Bates gives his full name and discusses his childhood all over Northwestern Kentucky, where he considers home (Eminence, Kentucky) and his high school career at Louisville Male. He considers himself very lucky to have been in a position where he could attend high school in the city and go work on his grandparents' farm in Eminence during breaks.

Keywords: Carrollton (Ky.); Eminence (Ky.); Federal Land Bank; Federal Land Bank Associations; Louisville (Ky.); New Castle (Ky.); Ted Bates; Theodore B. Bates; Theodore Bates; Theodore Bright Bates

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Carrollton (Ky.); Childhood; Education; Eminence (Ky.); Families.; Federal Land Bank Associations; Louisville (Ky.); New Castle (Ky.)

00:04:46 - Time in college / Work at Coldstream Farm

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Partial Transcript: And then, uh, World War II was coming along--looked like it was coming along.

Segment Synopsis: With World War II on the horizon, Bates' parents suggested he go to military school, so he went to the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., contracted tuberculosis, went home to recover after only one semester, and eventually started college again at the University of Kentucky. He finished school in 1950, but formally graduated in 1952, and started work as a groom at the former Coldstream Stud. There, he learned the horse business as well as horse husbandry itself.

Keywords: Charleston (S.C.); Citadel Academy; Horse breeders; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse owners; Horse trainers; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses; The Citadel; The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.); Thoroughbred horse; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Charleston (S.C.); Citadel Academy (Charleston, S.C.); Education, Higher; Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse owners; Horse trainers.; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.; University of Kentucky; World War, 1939-1945

00:08:11 - Leaving Coldstream and going to Shelbyville / Returning to the horse industry at Maine Chance Farm / Going to Calumet

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Partial Transcript: So, during that time, I wanted to get married.

Segment Synopsis: Bates wanted to get married but couldn't afford to so the university sent him to work in Shelbyville, Kentucky as an assistant county agent, where he got married. After that, he wound up once again in the horse industry as an assistant to the foreman at Maine Chance Farm, then owned by Elizabeth Arden/Florence Graham, a Canadian businesswoman and, according to him, an "unpleasant and demanding" person who was rude to "the help." Mrs. Markey at Calumet then asked both of them to come work for her.

Keywords: Calumet Farm; Coldstream Farm; Coldstream Stud; Elizabeth Arden; Florence Nightingale Graham; Horse farms; Horse industry; Lucille P. Markey; Maine Chance Farm; Shelbyville (Ky.); Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Arden, Elizabeth, 1878-1966.; Bates, Ted; Calumet Farm; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Lexington (Ky.); Shelbyville (Ky.); Thoroughbred horse.; University of Kentucky

00:11:35 - Life at Calumet

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Partial Transcript: Calumet was a wonderful experience.

Segment Synopsis: Bates talks about Calumet, where he worked as the breeding manager, and its own customs and traditions--calling it picturesque. He then tells anecdotes and talks about their stallion roster, which he was in charge of. He lists Citation as his favorite--for being "determined" his whole life.

Keywords: Calumet Farm; Citation (Race horse); Horse breeders; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse owners; Horse racing; Horse trainers; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Calumet Farm; Citation (Race horse); Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse owners; Horse racing.; Horse trainers.; Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

00:18:55 - Managing Foxtale Farm in Nicholasville / Managing the Fasig-Tipton Lexington branch

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Partial Transcript: Now why did you leave Calumet?

Segment Synopsis: Bates left Calumet to go manage Foxtale Farm in Nicholasville, where he worked for seven years. Then in 1969, he was asked by Fasig-Tipton, which was then trying to return to Kentucky, to be their general manager in Lexington. The sales company had its first sale upon returning to Lexington in 1970 or 1971. He tells a story of going to inspect Seattle Slew for qualification for the sale and being incredibly impressed by the then-yearling.

Keywords: Auction houses; Farm management; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Horse farms; Horse industry; Lexington (Ky.); Nicholasville (Ky.); Seattle Slew (Race horse); Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Auction houses; Farm management.; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Seattle Slew (Race horse), 1742-2002.; Thoroughbred horse.

00:24:18 - Working at Stone Farm, Wimbledon Farm, and BKY Stables

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Partial Transcript: But out, out of that--(??)--we had a beautiful Derby weekend.

Segment Synopsis: Eventually Bates wanted to go back to working on farms, so he left Fasig-Tipton and worked for Arthur Hancock at Stone Farm for a few months and left after "their personalities clashed," to go work at Hilary Boone's Wimbledon Farm. After that, he went to work for B. K. Yousif, a Lebanese oil baron, designing and running his farm. He left after Yousif had financial issues.

Keywords: B. K. Yousif; BKY Stables; Hilary Boone; Hilary J. Boone, Jr.; Horse farms; Horse industry; Lexington (Ky.); Stone Farm; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse; Wimbledon Farm

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Thoroughbred horse.

00:27:56 - Establishing the Ted Bates Farm / Early memories of Thoroughbred industry

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Partial Transcript: Then, I leased a, uh, I leased a farm on, uh, uh--a small farm, where I stayed a year.

Segment Synopsis: Bates talks about his establishment of his own farm, Ted Bates Farm. He considers his farm a breeding operation, working as a consignor principally boarding others' broodmares, foals, and yearlings. He then begins talking about the Thoroughbred industry as he first knew it, discussing both the competitiveness and the camaraderie.

Keywords: Horse farms; Horse industry; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses; Ted Bates; Ted Bates Farm; Theodore B. Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse owners; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

00:32:27 - Early experiences with horses / Derby memories / Work as a county agent

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Partial Transcript: Somehow, I knew all--I, uh, I've never had any doubt as to what I wanted to do.

Segment Synopsis: Bates talks about his family's comparative lack of interest in horses, but how they still had a box at Churchill Downs for the Derby all through the Depression, and how that's what got him interested, even though he primarily goes to the races now for work rather than fun. The interviewer then asks about what the most memorable Derbies to him were--and he lists Seattle Slew's and Bold Forbes'. After that, he talks about his work as a county agent in Shelby County, which involved working heavily with youth to give them farming experience to encourage them to go into farming.

Keywords: Bold Forbes (Race horse); Great Depression; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Kentucky Derby; Race horses; Seattle Slew (Race horse); Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Horse industry.; Horse racing--Kentucky.; Horse racing.; Kentucky Derby.; Race horses.; Seattle Slew (Race horse), 1974-2002.; Thoroughbred horse.

00:36:36 - More on Maine Chance and Calumet

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Partial Transcript: From that, I did go to, uh, Maine Chance with Ms., Ms. Graham--I mean, Elizabeth Arden.

Segment Synopsis: Bates elaborates on his time at Maine Chance Farm and on owner Elizabeth Arden's "difficult personality." Bates tells an anecdote about Calumet trainer Ben Jones and Jones' love for Bates' dog. After Jones' death, Bates kept in contact with his son, Jimmy Jones, also a horse trainer. When asked about the Markeys, who owned the farm when he was there, he describes them as good people, who included the "farm people" in their family activities. According to him, Mrs. Markey had good ideas about breeding, and Margaret Glass held the farm together.

Keywords: Calumet Farm; Elizabeth Arden; Florence Graham; Florence Nightingale Graham; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Maine Chance Farm; Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Arden, Elizabeth, 1878-1966.; Bates, Ted; Calumet Farm

00:43:36 - Bates' children / Stallions and breeding at Calumet

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Partial Transcript: Now you had your children, at that point?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about Bates about his kids. He talks about what they all went on to do, and how the family still thinks of Calumet as a homeplace, as the kids loved it so much. After that, the interviewer inquires about any breeding problems at Calumet, to which Bates answers that they had nothing major--just normal passing viruses and such. He describes the period at Calumet as its heyday, and discusses the sheer success of so many of their racehorses and the fame of their stallion roster.

Keywords: Calumet Farm; First Atlanta Bank; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Lexington (Ky.); Morgan Stanley; Northwestern University; Race horses; San Francisco (Calif.); Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse; Vanderbilt University

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Calumet Farm; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse racing--Kentucky.; Horse racing.; Lexington (Ky.); Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.; Vanderbilt University

00:52:40 - Employees at Calumet / Cultural shifts in racing

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Partial Transcript: The, um--now what about the help?

Segment Synopsis: When asked about the help at Calumet, Bates talks about what he witnessed to be the tail-end of the tradition of African American horsemen who understood horses, and how the grandsons of those men still come visit him. He hypothesizes reasons for this shift from African Americans to Irish to Latinos. From there, he talks about what he hopes for the equine management program at the University of Kentucky for getting young people into the business.

Keywords: African American horsemen; African American horsemen and horsewomen; Black horsemen; Black horsemen and horsewomen; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Race horses; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: African Americans in horse racing; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Education, Higher; University of Kentucky

00:58:34 - More on Foxtale Farm and working at Fasig-Tipton

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Partial Transcript: So, um, you left Calumet and you went to Foxtale Farm?

Segment Synopsis: Bates elaborates a bit on his time as manager at Foxtale Farm, which he describes as primarily a boarding facility, and ultimately unremarkable, even though he greatly enjoyed his time there. After that, while managing at Fasig-Tipton, he got to travel around the U.S. and to other countries, including Japan. From there, he explains how he wound up working for Fasig-Tipton in the first place.

Keywords: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Foxtale Farm; Horse farms; Horse industry; Lexington (Ky.); Nicholasville (Ky.); Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Auction houses; Bates, Ted; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Lexington (Ky.); Nicholasville (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

01:02:57 - Traveling while working for Fasig-Tipton Co.

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you were there, you said seven years?

Segment Synopsis: Bates tells a story of traveling to Japan, complete with specific anecdotes, with a horse he sold through Fasig-Tipton, and talks about the then-emerging horse industry in Japan. From there, he mentions his trips to the Newmarket sales in England.

Keywords: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Horse industry; Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

01:08:31 - More on working for Fasig-Tipton

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Partial Transcript: Um, before I forget, Ed said to ask you about Genuine, Genuine Risk.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer inquires about other bits of Bates' time at Fasig-Tipton, including talking about the various veterinarians they worked with at the auction houses--including Hagyard, Davidson, and McGee. He ultimately left Fasig-Tipton around 1978.

Keywords: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Horse farms; Horse industry; Keeneland; Lexington (Ky.); Medical emergencies; Race horses; Saratoga Springs (N.Y.); Soundness; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Fasig-Tipton Co.; Hagyard Equine Medical Institute; Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Associates; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Saratoga Springs (N.Y.)

01:12:05 - Membership in the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club / Thoroughbred Club of America

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Partial Transcript: I left Fasig-Tipton, in, in, uh, '78, and then went to work for, uh, as I told you, Arthur.

Segment Synopsis: Bates talks about his time as a member and officer (in various capacities) in the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club since the 1960s and all the charity work that organization does. He was made Farm Manager of the Year in 1993. In addition, he was made president of the Thoroughbred Club of America in 1978, an experience he didn't consider too demanding and also considered enjoyable. He also briefly mentions his involvement with the University of Kentucky Alumni Association.

Keywords: Farm management; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club; Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred Club of America; Thoroughbred horse; University of Kentucky Alumni Association

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Farm management.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse racing.; Race horses.; Thoroughbred Club of America; Thoroughbred horse.; University of Kentucky Alumni Association

01:16:57 - Work with the UK Alumni Association

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Partial Transcript: The, um, the other group you've stayed involved with over the years is UK.

Segment Synopsis: Bates mentions his time as the head of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association in 1978, being appointed as a trustee by Martha Layne Collins in 1987 and serving the four year-term that was standard at the time, and then a six year-term starting in 1994. He then talks about various campaigns of his while holding these positions, with the goal to preserve Coldstream Farm as long as possible and to encourage research.

Keywords: Brereton Jones; Coldstream Farm; Equine medicine; Horse health; Lexington (Ky.); Martha Layne Collins; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Alumni Association

Subjects: Collins, Martha Layne.; Horses--Health.; Jones, Brereton; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Alumni Association

01:21:59 - Involvement with the Gluck Center

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Partial Transcript: And of course the more research...

Segment Synopsis: Bates and the interviewer talk about the importance of the Gluck Center to the central Kentucky horse industry throughout its existence, even before it was called the Gluck Equine Research Center. He mentions various things they've done, including their role in stopping equine viral arteritis (EVA), and then speaks positively of his expectations for its future.

Keywords: Equine medicine; Equine viral arteritis; Gluck Equine Research Center; Horse farms; Horse health; Horse industry; Lexington (Ky.); Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Equine viral arteritis; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horses--Health.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

01:26:49 - The Miller-Blackburn farm / The industry downturn in the late 1980s

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Partial Transcript: Now you look back on all your, um, years at various farms.

Segment Synopsis: After briefly inquiring about Bates' four years at Boone's Wimbledon Farm, the interviewer asks about the time he helped Paul Miller and Kermit Blackburn establish a farm in the late 1980s, the same time period, the interviewer notes, as an industry downturn. Bates attributes the industry downturn to an overproduction of horses and goes on to state that there's an overproduction of horses going on at the time of the interview. They then briefly talk about the prices of yearlings when he was at Fasig-Tipton.

Keywords: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Horse breeders; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse owners; Kermit Blackburn; Lexington (Ky.); Paul Miller; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Wimbledon Farm

Subjects: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse owners; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

01:31:38 - Early struggles with the Lexington Fasig-Tipton branch

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Partial Transcript: I did--I did mean to ask you back when you were with Fasig--starting Fasig-Tipton here, did you have a lot of problems or opposition because of Keeneland?

Segment Synopsis: After the Fasig-Tipton Lexington branch left the barns they'd rented off Henry Alexander and leaving the training stables they'd initially been renting, they got The Red Mile to let them use their grounds for a fall sale. However, due to friendship between officials at The Red Mile and at Keeneland, The Red Mile revoked the offer. After other struggles with Keeneland, they managed to get permission to have their fall broodmare/mixed sale at Countess Batthyány's farm.

Keywords: Auction houses; Fasig-Tipton; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.; Horse industry; Keeneland; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Margrit Batthyány; Red Mile; Red Mile (Lexington, Ky.); Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Auction houses; Batthyány, Margit.; Fasig-Tipton Co.; Horse industry.; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Red Mile (Lexington, Ky.); Thoroughbred horse.

01:39:46 - Time at the Ted Bates Farm

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Partial Transcript: Well, I'm gonna, uh, take you back a little bit to your work as a farm manager.

Segment Synopsis: Bates talks at length about the almost twenty years running his own farm. He talks about his friendship with his clients and the pain of making the call to them if something ever happened to their horse. The interviewer then has him talk about what she'd heard of his great knowledge of horse nutrition. He'd taken classes in it during college and still owns the textbook. However, he still has veterinarians manage medicine, because he considers the best veterinarians in the world to work in Central Kentucky, such as at Hagyard or Rood & Riddle equine hospitals.

Keywords: Farm management; Hagyard Equine Medical Institute; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Race horses; Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Ted Bates; Ted Bates Farm; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Farm management.; Hagyard Equine Medical Institute; Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse owners; Horse racing--Kentucky.; Horse racing.; Horse trainers.; Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding; Thoroughbred horse--Breeding--Kentucky.; Thoroughbred horse.

01:46:23 - Racing his own horses

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Partial Transcript: Now you've always--did--have you ever raced horses?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks if Bates races any of his own horses, to which he answers that he does occasionally, but not at the time. He then tells a story about a wonderful client he had and a mare of hers he loved so much that he bought her. He lists some trainers he's employed in the past.

Keywords: Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Keeneland; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Race horses; Ted Bates; Ted Bates Farm; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Horse farms--Kentucky.; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse racing--Kentucky.; Horse racing.; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse.

01:49:47 - Closing remarks / What he's most enjoyed from working with horses

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Partial Transcript: Well, when you look back--um, I've kept you a long time, here, although I can think of, uh--I'm sure after I listen to this I'll have a lot more questions...

Segment Synopsis: When asked about what he's enjoyed most in his career with horses, Bates states it's a tie between seeing the horses everyday and the people he's met doing it. When asked, he talks about the individuals he met, including a man named Mac Miller with whom he was briefly a student at UK who dropped out and got them both jobs at Calumet. Bates stayed on to finish his education and only went to Calumet later.

Keywords: Calumet Farm; Horse farms; Horse industry; Horse racing; Lexington (Ky.); Mackenzie "Mac" Miller; Mackenzie Miller; Race horses; Ted Bates; Theodore Bates; Thoroughbred horse

Subjects: Bates, Ted; Calumet Farm; Horse farms.; Horse industry.; Horse racing.; Lexington (Ky.); Race horses.; Thoroughbred horse.