Ann in 1984

(Another posting about Ann Daingerfield Zwicky.)

The last picture I have of Ann, not long after she got the pronouncement of death from her oncologist, and about three months before she died:

Some words about the occasion and (some of) the people.

It was a celebration for Keene (Ann’s father), for some reason held at the Red Mile in Lexington (the harness racing track — trotters and pacers) rather than Keeneland (the thoroughbred racing track, with which Keene was associated). The central family figures are Keene, Elizabeth (Ann’s and my daughter), and Ann. Plus, off to the right, Velma Daingerfield (Keene’s second wife — mislabeled here as Zelma) and Harry B. Miller Jr. (Ann’s first cousin, on her mother’s side). Also in the photo is Fred van Lennep, owner of Castleton Farm at the time, a place that figures in many of my stories about Ann and her family,

About the Red Mile, from the Wikipedia entry:

The Red Mile is a horse racing track located in Lexington, KY. The track hosts harness racing, a type of horse racing in which the horses must pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies while racing. It is one of harness racing’s most famous tracks and is located in the heart of the Bluegrass region, an area of Kentucky famous for horse breeding and racing.

The track surface is red clay, hence the name. (Harry has long been associated with the track, as he has been with many things having to do with his alma mater, the University of Kentucky.)

Now Castleton. In summary, from Wikipedia again:

Castleton Lyons near Lexington, Kentucky, is an American horse racing stable and breeding business best known by the name Castleton Farm.

The farm was established in 1793 when Virginian John Breckinridge, a future U.S. Senator and Attorney General, purchased 2,467 acres (10 km²) of land and on a portion of it established a thoroughbred horse breeding operation. On his passing, the property went to his daughter, the then Mrs. David Castleman who eventually built a mansion on the horse farm site and gave it the family name. Under Mr. & Mrs. Castleman, Castleton Farm continued as a thoroughbred operation but would add the breeding of American Saddlebreds as well as Standardbreds for harness racing.

The original property changed hands several times with parts sold to different parties. In the early 1890s Wall Street tycoon James R. Keene acquired the farm and purchased additional land to bring the operation to almost 1,000 acres (4 km²). Keene usually referred to the farm as “Castleton Stud” and under his direction it became one of the greatest thoroughbred operations of its day. [And at that point Major Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield joined Keene as trainer and breeder on the farm. On his death, the Major’s daughter Elizabeth — Ann’s great-aunt Lizzie — took over these responsibilities, as I noted in my posting on the Major.] [There’s a lot more to be said about James R. Keene — a fascinating character. And about Keeneland, which is not named for James R. Keene. Stay tuned.]

… Upon the death of James R. Keene in 1913, the farm was taken over by his son Foxhall P. Keene. [Another fascinating character; in brief, a dissolute polo player, but there’s much more.] He continued the operation on a slightly reduced basis but sold it in the 1920s to fellow New Yorker, David Look. Look would have considerable success in harness racing but was forced to sell the farm after experiencing personal financial setbacks during the Great Depression.

In the early 1940s, heiress Frances Dodge founded the Dodge Stable. She was the daughter of Michigan automobile pioneer John F. Dodge [yes, of the Dodge cars] and a half-sister of Isabel Dodge, owner of the highly successful Brookmeade Stable. In 1945, Frances Dodge purchased Castleton Farm and relocated her Dodge stable there. After she married New York City advertising executive Frederick Van Lennep in 1949, the farm underwent major renovations in order to breed and raise both saddlebred show horses and standardbreds. The Van Lenneps made Castleton Farm one of the preeminent operations in both disciplines. [Fred died in 1987.]

… In 2001, Irish businessman and racing enthusiast Tony Ryan acquired Castleton Farm from the Van Lennep Family Trust. Ryan renamed it Castleton Lyons and undertook renovations to the property while returning to its original roots as a thoroughbred operation.

I’ll post eventually on Harry B. Miller (Jr.) and his family, noting here only that he’s been a lawyer in Lexington for over 60 years (in Miller, Griffin and Marks — with a number of specialties, including, of course, “equine matters”, as their website puts it) and that his mother Ann was my Ann’s aunt Ann: Ann Walcutt, sister of Ann’s mother Libby (another Elizabeth), married first to Harry B. Miller (a founding partner of Miller, Griffin and Marks), then to John J. (“Jack”) Winn, a judge from Mount Sterling, Kentucky, east of Lexington.

To make some of this history more personal and entertaining: at one point, Ann and I were visiting Lexington while Harry was away on business, and one of Harry’s three sons got arrested for buying and drinking some beer with a couple of his buddies, all of them underage. (Harry was at the time the attorney representing the Lexington police.) So Jack and I appeared at the police station, carefully dressed to be visibly respectable (I was wearing professorial tweed), as The Judge and The Professor (Princeton Class of ’19 and ’62, respectively), to bail, and chew, the kid out.

All three sons (and a daughter) turned out well, but that’s a topic for another posting.

2 Responses to “Ann in 1984”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    On Facebook, Mary Ballard remembers the Red Mile and also Cawood Ledford. About the latter, from Wikipedia:

    Cawood Ledford (April 24, 1926 – September 5, 2001) was a longtime radio play-by-play announcer for the University of Kentucky basketball and football teams. Ledford’s style and professionalism endeared himself to many sports fans in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and he remains among the most popular sports figures in the state.

    In a previous life, I not only knew Ledford, but I went to UK football games (and hung out once with the coach at the time). Not normally my thing *at all*, but it was part of the local culture.

    Of course, I went to the trots at the Red Mile and to thoroughbred racing at Keeneland (surely the most elegant racetrack in the country). At one opening day at Keeneland, I met the governor of Kentucky and two former governors. Those were strange times.

  2. The other Winns « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « Ann in 1984 […]

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