Ted and Governor Ronald Reagan at Keeneland, 1972The Duke of Devonshire and Ted at the Breeders Cup, 2004Elizabeth Taylor and Ted at Keeneland, 1985Lucy and Ted with Queen Elizabeth II, Keeneland Paddock, 1984Initial Landing in Japan, 1945The Aga Kahn and Queen Elizabeth II, with Ted at the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, 2006Yale Yell LeaderCaptain of the Basketball Team, Kent High SchoolEn route in the royal precession from Winsor Palace to Ascot with the Dutchess of York, Lady Fairhaven, Lucy and TedDirector of Kentucky State Police, 1963 - 1967Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai, greeting TedThe Infamous Drop, The Aga Kahn, Queen Elizabeth II, and Ted at the Royal Ascot, 2003
Kent, Yale, USMC, KY Police, Keeneland, Breeder's Cup, Luminates

INTRODUCTION

KEENELAND’S TED BASSETT: MY LIFE

Ted Bassett describes his life as a “fascinating blur.” But that blur and all its fascinating components are brought into sharp focus in his autobiography, Keeneland’s Ted Bassett: My Life, published by the University Press of Kentucky.

Written by Bassett and two-time Eclipse Award winning journalist Bill Mooney, this book chronicles Bassett’s extraordinary life, from his days at Kent School and Yale University, through his participation as a Marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II, as a newsprint salesman based in New York City and a tobacco farmer in Kentucky, and director of the Kentucky State Police during the turbulent 1960s. Bassett’s Marine Corps and State Police experiences are threads that weave throughout the book.

But all is accompaniment to what Bassett is best known for – his forty-plus years with Keeneland, as president and general manager, chairman of the board, and trustee.

In Bassett’s earnest but forever friendly, self-effacing and amusing manner, he tells about his early days at Keeneland, the growth of the sales and the racing program. He tells of his association with historic figures such as Queen Elizabeth II, J. Edgar Hoover, and Kentucky governors Albert B. “Happy” Chandler, Edward T. “Ned” Breathitt, and John Y. Brown; and of his friendship with racing hall of famers and personalities such as D. Wayne Lukas, Nick Zito, Ron McAnally, Pat Day, Joe Hirsch, and Charles Cella.

Bassett tells about his tenure as president of the Breeders’ Cup, the corporate decisions that had to be made, and the great races that he witnessed. He tells about the formation of Equibase, and his role as an international ambassador for racing, which has made him an influential and respected figure on six continents.

Beyond all, this is a book about Bassett’s love for Keeneland, the “jewel of the Thoroughbred industry.”

About the co-authors:

James E. “Ted” Bassett III is a former president, chairman of the board and trustee of Keeneland, and continues to serve as trustee emeritus. A highly honored Marine Corps veteran, Bassett remains active in numerous fund-raising drives involving the Marines, Kent School, Yale, and numerous Central Kentucky organizations. He lives with his wife, Lucy, at Lanark Farm in Woodford County.

Bill Mooney has covered Thoroughbred racing for the New York Times, The Thoroughbred Record and The Blood-Horse, and is currently a contributing editor for Thoroughbred Times. An alumnus of North Texas State University and Michigan State University, Mooney is the author of The Complete Encyclopedia of Horse Racing, and lives in Lexington.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

WHAT THE CRITICS HAVE SAID

“Bassett relates his tale with charm and humility, inviting the reader along on an 88-year jaunt through a fascinating life well-lived – as a schoolboy, collegiate prankster, athlete, soldier, newsprint salesman, tobacco farmer, Kentucky State Police director, racetrack executive, and devoted husband.”

– Mary Simon, Thoroughbred Times

“As he recalls (his) colorful history, (Bassett) fills in the blanks in a career hardly duplicated by anyone in American racing.”
– Stan Bergstein, Daily Racing Form

“This is autobiography at its finest – superbly written, entertaining and engaging.”

– Paul Sanders, Lexington Business

“Plan to stay at the table long after dinner with James E. ‘Ted’ Bassett III. He has had a marvelous life.”

– Eugenie A. Graf, Lexington Herald-Leader

“This book is a gold mine of first-hand stories and historic information not only about the racing industry, but about life in Kentucky.”
– Paintsville Herald

“(Bassett) goes into the political, economic and social standings of the racing industry, all the way down to the people who ultimately make it possible, the fans . . . The book is well recommended.”

– Carlton Jackson, Bowling Green Daily News