Dr. James E. (Ted) Bassett III is a 2010 Senior Star.
Bassett's nominators were Nick Nicholson and Witt Giles. He was born in Lexington. After graduating from Kent school and Yale University, he served as an infantry officer in the Fourth Marine Regiment, Sixth Division, during World War II. Twice wounded during the Okinawa campaign, Bassett recovered and participated in the initial landing by Allied Forces on Japanese shores. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Immediately following the war, Bassett was a newspaper salesman based in New York City. He subsequently returned to his home state where he was a tobacco farmer for three years and then was appointed as Kentucky's Deputy Director of Public Safety. From 1960 to 1967, Bassett was director of the Kentucky State Police. He served major roles in improving benefits and was one of the founders of the College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University.
Bassett began working for the Keeneland Association in 1968, initially as the assistant to Louis Lee Haggin II. In 1969, he became Keeneland's president, and he served in that capacity until 1986 when he became chairman of the board. In 2003, Bassett became a Keeneland trustee and he now holds the title of trustee emeritus. The entirety of his Keeneland tenure currently spans 42 years and coincides with the association's greatest period of growth.
From 1988 to 1996, Bassett also served as the president of Breeders' Cup Ltd. He was chairman of the World Series Racing Championship from 1999 to 2004. Bassett remains a Keeneland Breeders' Cup director and a member of The Jockey Club. He is past president of Thoroughbred Racing Association of American, and formerly served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing, UK Equine Research Foundation and Transylvania University.
Bassett also is an honorary member of the Victoria Racing Club of Australia, the Hong Kong Race Horse Owners Association, and the Association of Jockey Clubs of Latin American. He is a recipient of the Eclipse Award of Merit, the Lord Derby Award, the U.S. Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Award, and Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award. He holds honorary degrees from UK, Transylvania University and Eastern Kentucky University.
"Mr. Bassett's resume is already full enough for two lifetimes," said Nicholson. "Nevertheless, striding into his nineties, he took the time to write his life adventures and went on the road to promote them.'Keeneland's Ted Bassett, My Life', with Bill Mooney, is an acclaimed publishing success. Wherever Ted goes, he represents his country, especially the Marine Corp, with a smile and a handshake that's inspirational."