Horsemen Ted Bates, who was associated with a number of Central Kentucky farms over several decades and was a former general manager of Fasig-Tipton Kentucky, died Jan. 22 at the age of 92.
Bates entered the Thoroughbred industry in August 1950 and eventually started his own breeding, boarding, breaking, and sales operation under the banner of Ted Bates Farm, which he operated for more than 22 years.
Bates started out at Coldstream Farm near Lexington, working under farm manager Charlie Kenney and Kenney's foreman, Melvin Cinnamon.
"Mr. Kenney taught me the horse business, and Melvin Cinnamon taught me horse husbandry," Bates once recalled.
In 1956 Bates joined Cinnamon as his assistant manager at cosmetic mogul Elizabeth Arden's Maine Chance Farm. When Cinnamon left to manage Calumet Farm in 1958 Bates went with him and worked there for five years when the farm's stallion roster was headed by premier stallion Bull Lea. Later Bates managed Foxtail Farm near Nicholasville, Ky. before being named general manager of Fasig-Tipton when the sales company decided to move back to Kentucky in 1970.
Feeling the call of farm life, Bates left Fasig-Tipton in 1978. He managed Hilary Boone's Wimbledon Farm for four years and then served a brief stint with B. K. Yousif's BKY Farm, which Bates designed and helped build.
Eventually, when Elmer Whitaker of Bwamazon Farm had a dispersal of his stock, Bates moved onto a tract of Bwamazon on Paris Pike where in 1989 he started Ted Bates Farm.
Bates is a past president (1969) of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club, was 1978 Farm Manager of the Year, and was permanent member of the Farm Manager of the Year selection committee. In 2014 the Farm Manager of the Year award was renamed the Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year Award in his honor.
He has served as a trustee for the University of Kentucky and is a past president of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. He is a former member of the board of directors of Fasig-Tipton and served as a director emeritus. He has also was the 1976-77 president of the Thoroughbred Club of America. Bates was the 2013 recipient of the TOBA Hardboot Breeders Award.
A native Kentuckian, Bates graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1952 with a degree in agriculture.
"There's an influence that you get from being with horses," Bates said in a 2008 interview for the Kentucky Oral History Project. "I've always told myself that's why I did it. There's an innate peace and appreciation of their majesty, and as it was then, the camaraderie of your colleagues and those things really are what attracted me."
Survivors includes his wife, Evelyn Nash Bates, one son, Theodore Bright Bates Jr., Lexington; one daughter, Eve Bates (Steven) Greathouse, Midway, Ky.; and two grandchildren.
Funeral service will be 1 p.m. EST Jan. 29 at Central Christian Church in Lexington, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. A private family burial will be at the Eminence Cemetery in Eminence, Ky.
In lieu of flowers contributions are suggested to the Central Christian Church Building Fund and Hospice of the Bluegrass.