Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Antony Beck, July 17, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Gainesway Farm history

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Partial Transcript: Right, okay, this is seventeenth July 2019, uh, Chris McGrath here.

Segment Synopsis: Antony Beck recalls the history of Gainesway Farm, including: history of ownership, noteworthy horses buried in the farm's several equine cemeteries, and the story of Tapit's voyage across the Atlantic.

Keywords: Aga Khan; American stud farms; Barns; Betsey Whitney; C.V. "Sonny" Whitney; C.V. Whitney Cemetery; Cattle ranches; Cemeteries; Elmendorf Farm (Fayette Co., Ky.); Gaines, John; Greentree Farm (Fayette Co., Ky.); Greentree Stud (Fayette Co., Ky.); Haggin, James Ben Ali; Harry Payne Whitney; Harry Payne Whitney cemetery; Horse barns; James Ben Ali Haggin; Jock Whitney; John Gaines; John Hay "Jock" Whitney; Land grants; Marylou Whitney; Payne Whitney; Payson Stud; Payson, Virginia; Payson, Virginia Kraft; Pioneer settlements; Pioneers; Sea voyages; Shawnee territory; Ships; Torpedoes; U-boats; Virginia Kraft Payson; Virginia Payson; WW2; WWII; Whitney, Betsey; Whitney, C. V. "Sonny"; Whitney, Harry Payne; Whitney, Jock; Whitney, John Hay "Jock"; Whitney, Marylou; Whitney, Payne; World War 2; World War II; World War Two

Subjects: African Americans; Frontier and pioneer life; La Troienne (Race horse); Mahmoud (Race horse); Shawnee Indians; Slavery--Kentucky; Submarines (Ships) -- Germany; Tapit (Race horse); World War, 1939-1945

00:07:21 - John Gaines

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Partial Transcript: Just, moving on in a linear fashion for now.

Segment Synopsis: Beck tells a few stories about John Gaines, offering stories on his character and work within the horse industry. Beck specifically discusses the foresight and consequential influence that Gaines had on the industry.

Keywords: Bassett, III, James Edward "Ted"; Breeders' Cup Classic; European horses; Farish, Will; Frederick L. Van Lennep; G. Watts Humphrey; Horse capital of the world; Humphrey, G. Watts; Intellect; Intelligent; James Edward "Ted" Bassett, III; Kentucky Horse Park; Leadership; Lexington (Ky.); Mr. Farish; National Equine Park; Prominent breeders; Stallions; Teddy Bassett; Van Lennep, Frederick L.; William Stamps Farish, III; Young stallions

Subjects: Horse breeders; Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry; Horse industry--Kentucky; Horse racing; Horse syndication; Thoroughbred horse

00:11:31 - Graham Beck

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Partial Transcript: Uh, it probably caused quite a lot of, uh, surprise when, uh, Mr. Gaines, uh, spoke to a South African man named Graham Beck about the future of this place.

Segment Synopsis: Beck shares memories of his father, Graham Beck, and in doing so recounts his character. Beck describes the day that his father was approached regarding the purchase of Gainesway Farm.

Keywords: Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf; Business partnerships; Businesses; Businessman; Challenges; Gaines, John; Grandfathers; Grateful; Hollywood Park Racetrack; Iconic farms; Joe Taylor; John Gaines; Perseverance; Raising children; Stallions; Stockbrokers; Taylor, Joe; Theatrical

Subjects: Child rearing; Coal mines and mining -- South Africa; Farm management; Ferdinand (Race horse); Horse buyers; Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry; Horse industry--Kentucky; Horse racing; South Africa

00:16:11 - The early years of modern-day Gainesway Farm

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Partial Transcript: So what, what, was was the plan? Or wasn't there one?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Beck discusses the elements that help account for Gainesway Farm's successes, including: a strong team, good people, and high-quality mares.

Keywords: Beck, Graham; Beck, Rhona; Belmont Park; Belmont Stakes; Brian Graves; Broodmare bands; Broodmares; D. Wayne Lukas; Farm development; Fathers; Fevers; Graham Beck; Graves, Brian; Greeley, William "Bill"; Hernon, Michael; Howard, Neil; Joe Taylor; Johnny Slugantz; Lukas, D. Wayne; Lukas, Wayne; Mares; Medications; Michael Hernon; Mothers; Neil Howard; New York; Rhona Beck; Scratch; Slugantz, Johnny; Stallion business; Stallions; Taylor, Joe; Team building; W. T. Young; Wayne Lukas; Whitney farms; William "Bill" Greeley; William T. Young; Young, W. T.; Young, William T.

Subjects: Churchill Downs (Louisville, Ky. : Racetrack); Empire Maker (Race horse); Farm management; Horse buyers; Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry; Horse industry--Kentucky; Kentucky Derby; Street Sense (Race horse); Tapit (Race horse); Timber Country (Race horse)

00:20:53 - Gainesway partnerships / Beck's early career

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me a bit about, um, the partners?

Segment Synopsis: Beck recalls the early partnerships that helped form strong foundations for Gainesway Farm. Beck also shares his own career history, explaining where and what he was doing prior to moving to the United States in 1993.

Keywords: Beverly Lewis; Broodmare sires Champion sprinters; Colleges; Confidence; Cotswolds; D. Wayne Lukas; Friendships; High schools; Injuries; Lewis, Beverly; Lewis, Robert "Bob"; Lukas, D. Wayne; Lukas, Wayne; Presidents; Robert "Bob" Lewis; Shadwell Farm (Fayette Co., Ky.); Sparkling wine; Sprinters; Stallions; University; Unsuccessful stud farms; Vice presidents; W. T. Young; Wayne Lukas; William T. Young; Young, W. T.; Young, William T.

Subjects: Apartheid; England; Horse breeders; Horse buyers; Horse buyers--Kentucky; Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry--Kentucky; Horse syndication; Mandela, Nelson, 1918-2013; Obama, Barack; Orientate (Race horse); South Africa; Timber Country (Race horse); Woodman (Race horse)

00:25:49 - Beck's parents / Beck's marriage

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Partial Transcript: Um, you, you, you, rightly refer to your parents in the plural.

Segment Synopsis: Beck discusses his mother's interest in trees and her influence on Gainesway Farm, specifically planting countless trees on the farm. Beck also recounts meeting his wife, Angela, whom he was introduced to via Marylou Whitney.

Keywords: Angela Beck; Arboretums; Atlantic City racetrack; Authors; Beck, Angela; Beck, Graham; Beck, Rhona; Fathers; Fiction; Graham Beck; Marriages Americans Racing families; Marylou Whitney; Mothers; Oak trees; Rhona Beck; Tree species; Trees; WW2; WWII; Whitney, Marylou; Winds; Windstorms; World War 2; World War II; World War Two

Subjects: Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry--Kentucky; Orientate (Race horse); World War, 1939-1945

00:28:16 - Marylou Whitney

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Partial Transcript: Tell us a, a bit about Marylou. She's a wonderful.

Segment Synopsis: Beck discusses his close friendship with Marylou Whitney and recalls the time he sat next to her after her horse won the Belmont Stakes.

Keywords: Belmont Stakes; Best friends; C.V. "Sonny" Whitney; Crying; Friends; Friendship; Harry Payne Whitney; Hendrickson, John; Horse retirement; John Hendrickson; Neighbors; Whitney, C. V. "Sonny"; Whitney, Harry Payne; Yearlings

Subjects: Dunkirk (Race horse); Horse industry; Horse industry--Kentucky; Horse racing; Mine That Bird (Race horse); Summer Bird (Race horse)

00:31:01 - Tapit (Race horse)

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Partial Transcript: The, the place, as you've already mentioned, needed a bit of a reboot.

Segment Synopsis: Beck tells the important story of the race horse Tapit. As he recounts the horse's successes, Beck also shares his insights on horse breeding and buying.

Keywords: Athletes; Athletic; Bad races; Breeders' Cup Classic; Cardiovascular; Derby favorites; Desire to win; Ease; Fast horses; Female families; Florida Derby; Furlongs; Grade 1; Grade 1 races; Laurel Futurity; Luck; Lung infections; Mares; Mr. Prospector Stakes; Mud; Pennsylvania Derby; Tenacious; Versatility; Wood Memorial

Subjects: Horse breeders; Horse buyers; Horse buyers--Kentucky; Housebuster (Race horse); Kentucky Derby; Narrate (Race horse); Preach (Race horse); Pulpit (Race horse); Relaunch (Race horse); Smarty Jones (Race horse); Tapit (Race horse); Unbridled (Race horse)

00:38:42 - Breeding strategy / Farm management / Family life

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Partial Transcript: There, there are no rules about it but do you have a kind of an overriding strategy when it comes to matings and, uh, purchases you make for the farm?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Beck discusses three interconnected topics: horse breeding, a successful team, and the importance of family. Beck talks about what he has learned to look for in a successful horse. Beck also emphasizes on the importance of the Gainesway team and credits that collaboration for the success of the farm as well as their ability to preserve its heritage. Beck also discusses his family life throughout the segment.

Keywords: Andrew Beck; Angela Beck; Athletic horses; Beck, Andrew; Beck, Angela; Beck, Emma; Beck, Henry; Beck, Lily; Beck, William; Breeding; Brian Graves; Career satisfaction; Castellano, Javier; Children; Competitive; Daughters; Dedication; Emma Beck; Family; Fillies; Fine art; Fulfillment; Funerals; Gaines, John; Gainesway brand; Goodwood Racecourse (England); Graves, Brian; Henry Beck; Heritage; History; History professors; In-laws; Influences; Javier Castellano; Jim Dandy Stakes; John Gaines; Lily Beck; Loss of a parent; Marylou Whitney; Mating; Pedigrees; Pletcher, Todd; Preservation; Purchases; Sculpture; Selective; Sons; Stallion managers; Strategy; Teams; Teamwork; Todd Pletcher; Travers Stakes; Turf horses; Whitney, Marylou; William Beck; Wives

Subjects: Afleet Express (Race horse); Art; Bereavement; Business operations policies; Farm management; Horse breeders; Horse buyers; Horse buyers--Kentucky; Horse farms--Kentucky; Horse industry; Horse industry--Kentucky; Horse racing; Management; Starfish Bay (Race horse); Timber Country (Race horse)

00:48:09 - Winemaking

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Partial Transcript: And, and, finally, I, um, you know, very grateful for your time, but one last thought.

Segment Synopsis: Beck discusses his family's wine business and outlines the parallels between winemaking and horse breeding.

Keywords: Andrew Beck; Angela Beck; Beck, Andrew; Beck, Angela; Beck, Emma; Beck, Henry; Beck, Lily; Beck, William; Children; Emma Beck; Family names; Henry Beck; Lily Beck; Passions; Patience; Similarities; Striving for improvement; Vinification; Vintage; Vintners; William Beck; Wine making; Winegrowing; Winemakers

Subjects: Triple Crown (U.S. horse racing); Viticulture; Wine; Wine industry