On late Wednesday night, I learned reading the TDN that Dan Kenny passed away. In November 2002, both Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton committed to a 3-year promotional strategy, coordinated through KTOB, that sought to broaden our buying bench with overseas buyers from Mexico, South Korea and Western Canada. There was universal support for involving Dan to be involved in activities in Alberta, and I first got to know him on a July 2003 trip to Alberta. His most memorable lines from a seminar at Northlands was a story he attributed to Woody Stephens about the importance of checking a yearling's tail before purchasing. We had an abundance of Canadian horsemen and women from Alberta and BC by the fall sales (some lifting tails in September), which led to Dan accompanying Tom Thornbury and me to Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil in March 2004. In the Andean highlands well south of Santiago, Dan told us the story about his trip to Russia to attempt repatriating Leo Castelli; apparently Gracioso's paddock and surroundings at Haras Paso Nevado was like what he'd seen at Vozkhod Stud.
It occurred to me on Wednesday evening that having Dan along on those first attempts of a fledgling initiative were vital to its eventual success, and that his qualities as a horseman, along with being sincerely affable and confident, are the same regional traits that attracted strong business investment from those areas, not only bloodstock, but now some of our most important farms. Canada is a vast country and not uncomplicated business culture, and Dan earned respect of horsemen, oilmen, miners, biotech and brewing moguls from coast to coast. I shall miss him.
Kentucky Thoroughbred Association
Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders, Inc.