Lucille P. Markey
|Lucille Wright Markey|
December 11, 1888|
Tollesboro, Kentucky, U.S.
July 24, 1982 (aged 93)|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Resting place||Lexington Cemetery|
|Occupation||Racehorse owner/breeder, philanthropist|
|Known for||Calumet Farm|
Warren Wright, Sr. |
|Children||Warren Wright, Jr. (adopted); died 1978|
Lucille Parker Wright Markey (December 11, 1888 - July 24, 1982) was an American businesswoman and philanthropist who owned Calumet Farm, the most prestigious Thoroughbred horse farm in the United States.
Lucille Parker was born in Tollesboro, Kentucky on December 11, 1888. The youngest of seven children, she was the daughter of a tobacco grower who also owned a Livery stable. She is a distant relative, on her mother's side, of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. In 1919 she married Warren Wright, Sr. (1875-1950); they adopted a son, Warren, Jr. (died 1978), who married and had four children.
She inherited Calumet Farm on the death of her husband and ran it successfully for more than thirty years. Under her guidance, Calumet Farm won the Kentucky Derby four times beginning with Hill Gail (1952), Iron Liege (1957), Tim Tam (1958), and Forward Pass (1968). Among her other horses, in 1977 her filly Our Mims (named after Admiral Markey's daughter, Melinda) won the Eclipse Award as the American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, in 1979 another filly, Davona Dale won the Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing (as well as finishing Fourth in the 1979 Travers Stakes against colts), and in 1981 still another filly, Before Dawn was voted the Eclipse Award as the American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.
On September 27, 1952, Lucille Wright married screenwriter, Admiral Gene Markey. With her new husband, she divided her time between Lexington, Kentucky, Miami Beach and Saratoga Springs. She owned a Yorkshire Terrier, Timmy Tammy, and carried the dog with her in her purse everywhere she went - even on airplanes. It has been speculated that Calumet's outstanding thoroughbred Tim Tam was named after the dog, but this has never been absolutely proven to be the case. Among her hobbies were needlepoint and collecting statues of eagles. In 18th century Kentucky, eagles were widely believed to be a symbol of good luck.
In 1978, when Calumet Farm's outstanding three year old colt, Alydar (named for Prince Aly Khan, and half-brother of Our Mims), was locked in his classic battle with Affirmed, the Markeys (due to their failing health) were brought to the rail at Keenland in Lexington to watch him run in the Blue Grass Stakes. Alydar won in a time of 1:49.60. Admiral Markey died in 1980.
She established the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. The Trust's aims were to benefit basic medical research. The University of Virginia's Molecular Biology Institute is among the many recipients of grants from the Trust.
Her adopted son and only heir died in 1978. Following Lucille Markey's death on July 24, 1982, aged 93, in Miami, Florida, Warren Wright, Jr.'s widow, Bertha and her four children, inherited Calumet Farm. Lucille Markey is buried next to her second husband in Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.
- ↑ Date and place of birth per Markey's bio at the Markey Center at University of Virginia website
- ↑ Lucille P. Markey bio, ibid.
- Wild Ride, Anne Hagedorn Auerbach, New York, Henry Holt & Company, LLC. 1994