Joe Taylor, 1924 - 2003, 79, was the longtime farm manager for Clarence Gaines and his son John, first raising Standardbreds and then Thoroughbreds at Gainesway Farm in Lexington. The association, which began in 1950, ended May 10, 1990, not long after John Gaines sold Gainesway to Graham Beck. During his tenure, Taylor was president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club and was named the 1975 farm manager of the year.
Daddy Joe's bar and grill was made in remembrance of his name
The company is run by, and was grown by, four Taylor brothers: Duncan, Ben, Frank and Mark, along with Pat Payne, a life-long friend of the family who serves as the company’s vice president of sales. Taylor, the father of the Taylor brothers, raised his sons in the horse business. The elder Taylor got a job with Clarence Gaines, who ran Gainesway Farm, and ended up being a key contributor to the growth of that farm. Together, Taylor and Gaines built one of the most successful trotting horse stables in the country, and laid the groundwork for the farm’s transition into Thoroughbreds. The Taylor brothers grew up around Gainesway Farm, working with and learning horsemanship from their father.
“We grew up running around Gainesway Farm with my dad, and he basically mentored us,” Mark Taylor, the Vice President of Marketing and Public Sales Operations, said. “My dad was a workaholic. He was obsessed with horses and that rubbed off.”
Duncan Taylor, along with his business partner Mike Shannon, launched Taylor Made in1976
While Joe Taylor was still working for Gainesway when Taylor Made took off, his instruction and ideas formed a foundation for the company to build on.
Taylor, who would write the definitive book on managing a horse farm in Joe Taylor’s Complete Guide to Breeding and Raising Racehorses, was a constant presence at Taylor Made as the Taylor brothers were building the company.
“We were living the book before it was written,” Taylor said. “He’d get off work at Gainseway and he’d drive around Taylor Made coaching us and telling us what we were doing wrong. We were constantly corrected.”
And though the Taylor brothers were largely responsible for developing the company’s sales operations, Joe Taylor’s philosophies about the horse business were fundamental to the growth of Taylor Made.
“My dad always said that in the horse business, you never have it figured out; things are always changing and you have to have a progressive open mindset, or you’re going to get passed by,” Taylor said. “Even though he was at the top of his career, he was always assimilating information and coming up with new theories and ways to do things. So we didn’t take his model, but we took his mindset and his philosophy of always trying to improve.”
That philosophy helped Taylor Made develop an innovative approach to the marketing and sale of horses.
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