(Edited press release)
Marion Gross, stallion manager at the Beck family’s Gainesway Farm near Lexington, died Feb. 23 following a brief illness.
An institution in his own right, Gross worked at Gainesway for 46 years and served as stallion manager for 41 years.
“It is safe to say that very few working in the horse industry today have not been affected in some way by the career and work of Marion Gross,” said farm president Antony Beck.
Gross first joined Gainesway when the farm was in its original location adjacent to Keeneland. At a party commemorating his 40th year at the farm in 2003, Gainesway founder John Gaines recalled how he met Gross: “Showed up at our front door on Versailles Road looking for a job.” Gaines took a chance on “the kid from the mountains,” and he recalled it as one of the best business decisions he ever made. Gross became the stallion manager in 1968.
Gainesway stood only four stallions when Gross arrived in 1963, and he oversaw the expansion of the stallion ranks to a roster of 50 in the early 1980s.
Gross’ knowledge of his stallions, and their owners, was encyclopedic, with him clearly recalling the smallest detail of all his charges. Vaguely Noble may have been his sentimental favorite, but Lyphard, Mt. Livermore, and Cozzene also merited special mention as he recounted the stallion careers in which he took the most pride.
Whether he was coordinating the activities of a few stallions or dozens, Gross’ influence over the stud barn was all-encompassing and unfailing. He directed thousands of matings in his extraordinary career, and consistently exhibited a calm mastery of the horses, for which he will be long remembered.
Visitation will be Thursday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Harrodsburg Rd., Lexington. The funeral will be Friday at 12:30 at Kerr Brothers.