William E. Graves
1/10/1948 – 5/30/2018
Fasig-Tipton is deeply saddened to report the passing of the respected and much-loved Thoroughbred horseman, Bill Graves. A senior vice-president with more than 26 years service with the Thoroughbred auction company, Bill passed away after a short illness on May 30 at University of Kentucky Hospital. Bill’s son, Brian, director of public sales for Gainesway Farm, was at his side for his final days.
A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Bill developed a formidable reputation as an elite competitor on the national show horse circuit. He competed at the top levels with much success. He was inducted into the Virginia Horse Show Association’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
In his early 20’s, Bill came to Lexington to begin a lifetime career with Thoroughbreds. He quickly showed exceptional skill as a yearling showman in Saratoga and Kentucky. He started Graves Stable with his late wife, Michele, and they were routinely leading consignors at Fasig-Tipton’s premier two-year-olds in training sales at Calder Race Course in Florida.
In 1992, Bill was recruited by Fasig-Tipton to review and manage its Selected Yearling Sales process. His talent and ability for finding exceptional quality were unparalleled. Much of the growth of the company’s yearling sales in Kentucky and Saratoga resulted directly from Bill’s eye for superior yearlings and his ability to recruit them from existing consignors and from many clients new to Fasig-Tipton’s selected auction schedule.
Though a lifetime of achievements, Bill was unquestionably proudest of the accomplishments of his son, Brian, as a horseman, and, with his wife, Leslie, as the parents of Bill’s three treasured grandchildren, Will, Catherine, and Carson. He is also survived by his brother, Reed Graves, and by his sister, Elizabeth (Ditty) Stone, both of Lynchburg, Virginia, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home at 463 East Main Street in Lexington on Saturday, June 2 from 5:00-7:00 pm.
A Celebration of Bill’s life will be held in the sales pavilion at Fasig-Tipton on Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY, on Monday, June 4 at 2:30 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, 821 Corporate Drive, Lexington, KY 40503.
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