francis m. mckinzie
Born in Sheridan, Indiana, Francis McKinzie was regarded, throughout the harness racing industry, as the most knowledgeable horseman in the sport and one of its finest gentlemen. He was associated with Standardbreds his entire life. His father was farm manager at Sep Palin's Senator Farm, Carmel, Indiana. Francis worked for Palin as a groom and was later recommended by him to the late Frances Dodge Johnson Van Lennep for the position of farm manager when she purchased Castleton Farm in 1945. He went to work for Walnut Hall Stud in 1958 in the same capacity and remained there until the Immortal Rodney's death in 1963. He then helped arrange the purchase of Almahurst Farm, where his old hero, Greyhound, had been foaled. The farm's new owner, P. J. Baugh, immediately offered McKinzie the position of president and general manager. He accepted and retained the post until 1967.
Considered to be without peer in the preparation of yearlings for the sales ring, McKinzie was always active in the buying and selling of horses, even when he was managing the major farms. He was a licensed harness driver and a holder of stock in Louisville Downs. In his last years, he was involved with selling large consignments of yearlings at the Tattersalls Sale in Lexington. He also acted as agent for many small breeders.
Significant horses in his care included Mainliner (the 1951 Hambletonian winner), Yankee Lass, Merrie Annabelle, Good Counsel, Shadow Wave, Kashaplenty, and Live Dangerously. Francis McKinzie died in Lexington, Kentucky on October 9, 1978.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2000 Souvenir Journal