Beverly Lewis, who with her husband, Bob, campaigned four classic winners from 1995-2000, died Oct. 20 at the age of 90 after a lengthy illness.
After her husband Bob Lewis died in February 2006, Beverly Lewis, along with their son Jeff Lewis, retained a continuing ownership interest in Thoroughbred racing and breeding. In recent years Beverly Lewis served on the board of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, which works to assist backstretch employees and their families.
After the Lewises won their first Kentucky Derby (G1) in 1997 with Silver Charm, winning trainer Bob Baffert noted, "No one deserves it more than they do. It couldn't happen to two more beautiful people."
Bob Lewis noted that his wife readily adopted his passion for racing. The couple spent their honeymoon at Caliente and Del Mar. They purchased their first horses in 1990. As they reached racing's heights, their love of the sport radiated at the nation's biggest races and for all to see on national television broadcasts.
Their first classic success came in the 1995 Preakness Stakes (G1) with Timber Country, who they co-owned with Overbrook Farm and Gainesway Thoroughbreds. Silver Charm followed with his Derby and Preakness wins in 1997 and Charismatic matched that accomplishment in 1999. Commendable gave the Lewises that elusive Belmont Stakes (G1) victory in 2000.
Timber Country's classic success followed a divisional championship at 2. Silver Charm was named champion 3-year-old male and Charismatic earned Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male honors. Other champions campaigned by the Lewises included Serena's Song, the 1995 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award winner; Orientate, 2002 champion sprinter; and Folklore, 2005 champion juvenile filly.
Craig Bandoroff, who served as an adviser to the Lewises on matings and fondly recalls their trips to Denali Stud in Paris, Ky., to visit Serena's Song, said Beverly Lewis was supportive of her outgoing husband and they enjoyed the sport together.
"She was just a wonderful woman and when the horse thing came about, it was their passion, not just his passion. It was them together," Bandoroff said. "From that generation and time, it usually was the man who was driving the bus, but she was right there with him and loved it every bit as much as he did."
In 1997 Bob and Beverly Lewis were awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit, the industry's highest honor. In 1995 they earned the Big Sport of Turfdom Award for their work with racing media and turf publicists.
Bandoroff recalled a time early in the breeding career of Serena's Song when Bob Lewis called to say he was thinking about selling the Racing Hall of Famer. Bandoroff said he'd hate to see that and asked if they could first talk over any decision in person.
"I'd armed myself with all of the data and I flew out there," Bandoroff said. "Bob met me at the airport and he said, 'Craig, we're not going to sell Serena's Song; Beverly would kill me.' "
A memorial service for Beverly Lewis is scheduled for 11 a.m., Nov. 6, at Saint James Anglican Church in Costa Mesa, Calif. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Foundation c/o of Mr. Jim Dale.