Mary "Pat" Dolan, longtime copy editor of the BloodHorse, died from conditions secondary to cancer March 19 in Lexington. She was 79.
For more than 40 years the quality and integrity of what BloodHorse published every week rested on the shoulders of Dolan. Yes, the eyes of many editors and writers combed though pages of text and photo captions, but Dolan was the longtime arbiter of grammar, style, and accuracy.
In addition to her role in quality control, Dolan also compiled hip-by-hip sales results for the magazine—a job done meticulously by hand long before the personal computer arrived. The importance of Dolan's auction results to a growing commercial Thoroughbred industry cannot be overemphasized because BloodHorse was the only authoritative source of market data nationwide.
Before every sale Dolan compiled from catalogs the pedigree and consignor information for every horse. She would update her list from results that were mailed, then later faxed to BloodHorse. The results were published in the weekly magazine.
"When I started at BloodHorse, it handled the cataloging for Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton and maintained all the produce records for the mares. It was the source of all this information," Dolan said in an interview last August for the Aug. 6 100th Anniversary issue.
"You only had to be there a week to feel that everyone was serious about their work and you should be, too. At the same time, it was a fun place to work."
Dolan, a native of Lexington who graduated from Lexington Catholic High School in 1956 before earning a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky, began working at BloodHorse in late 1963 when the company operated out of an old house on High Street.
Through her tenure that ran to the end of 2004, the company relocated three times and progressed from hot type to offset printing to desktop publishing. What never changed was the parade of characters and personalities.
"You got to meet everyone from the high-ups who had a whole lot of money to the people on the backstretch," Dolan said. "One day Alfred Vanderbilt stopped by to talk with Kent (Hollingsworth). And I remember how excited everyone would get during the Keeneland July sale, which got to be so big. There would be a lot of big parties and celebrities in town. Those were exciting times."
Dolan is survived by her niece Holly (Mark) Wilson and Nephew Richard (Larette) Blackford Jr. of Nicholasville, and numerous cousins. Pat was the niece of late Joe and Noah Mulholland of Mulholland Brothers Farm in Georgetown.
Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, March 23, 11 a.m., at Pax Christi Catholic Church. Visitation will be held Wednesday, March 22, 5-8 p.m. at Milward-Southland Funeral Home, 391 Southland Drive. Special thanks are extended to Karen Mulholland, Pat's cousin.