By: Kelsey Riley
Story from TDN
There were few people more visible in the highest echelons of the sport of horse racing in the 1990s than Bob and Beverly Lewis. The California couple spent large sums at the yearling sales and were rewarded with six champions–including two Kentucky Derby winners–in the span of 10 years. But it is likely they are most remembered for their copious volumes of grace and class.
Bob and Beverly were married for 58 years before Bob’s passing in 2006, and they developed similarly loyal relationships with those they employed in the Thoroughbred industry. In a 2017 TDN story following Beverly’s death, trainer Bob Baffert said, “They may have been the only owners in racing who no one ever minded losing to. They were both so well-liked and such nice people.”
The Lewises at Keeneland with Lukas and Baffert, the two trainers their names were synonymous with for a decade | Keeneland
These days, the Lewis stable looks much different. Gone are the days when multi-million dollar colts are knocked down to the Lewises at the yearling sales, and show up in the Classics two years later for trainers like Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas. The main stage is no longer Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, or the winner’s circle at the Breeders’ Cup, but rather rolling green pastures in Paris, Kentucky. The supporting cast is a handful of mares and foals dotting the fields of Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud. The star act is the great matriarch Serena’s Song (Rahy). Grace, class and loyalty remain prominent as ever.
"Bob, I think that one’–that being Serena’s Song–‘fell between the cracks.’ And if there was ever a truthful statement made in the history of horse racing, that had to be among the tops.”
When Bob Lewis died, his son Jeff stepped up to help his mother, Beverly, run the stable. The focus switched from buying expensive colts to preserving the legacy of their Eclipse champion, Hall of Famer and 11-time Grade I winner Serena’s Song, one of the first yearlings purchased for the Lewises by Lukas in 1993.
“My Mom and Dad and Wayne had made a deal with regards to the purchase of yearlings over a three-year period,” Jeff Lewis recalled while visiting Serena’s Song at Denali Stud in June. “My Dad committed some significant capital to that effort. The very first horse that Wayne selected for Mom and Dad at the Keeneland July sale was this filly by Rahy. She wasn’t inexpensive, but she was quite reasonable [for $150,000]. Wayne turned to my Dad when the hammer went down and said to him, ‘Bob, I think that one’–that being Serena’s Song–‘fell between the cracks.’ And if there was ever a truthful statement made in the history of horse racing, that had to be among the tops.”