2018 Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club (KTFMC) is pleased to announce the 2018 Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year, Donnie Snellings. It is the committee’s belief that Donnie exemplifies all the qualities necessary to be a consummate professional, leader, and role model within the industry and community. We could think of no better person to represent the club and its membership.
Donnie Snellings grew up on his family’s farm in Calverton, Virginia. As a kid, he rode show jumping horses, hunters, and even the occasional steeplechase horse. In 1980, the Snellings family moved to Lexington, Kentucky when his father, Don Snellings, accepted a job as yearling manager at Spendthrift Farm. Donnie was able to work at Spendthrift Farm at the age of fifteen after getting the courage to ask John Williams, then farm manager at Spendthrift Farm, for a job. His passion and love for the Thoroughbred business started that day and has continued to grow throughout Snellings’ career.
Snellings worked at Spendthrift Farm from 1981 until 1986. While working at Spendthrift Farm, Snellings was able to learn the skills of a true horsemen by working under his father, John Williams, and Ernie Frazer.
In 1986, Snellings moved farms to grow in his career by taking the yearling manager position at Strodes Creek Stud. He managed the yearling division for just a short period of time before moving to a higher position at Mill Ridge Farm working for Mrs. Alice Chandler.
While working at Mill Ridge Farm for over twenty years, Snellings worked with all facets of the farm. When the farm was a smaller operation, Snellings helped with mares, yearlings, and stallions. As the farm business grew, Snellings moved his focus towards managing the yearling division and the breeding shed. He cared for some of the top stallions in the Thoroughbred business at their prime. Diesis and Gone West were two of Snellings’ favorite stallions. While managing the yearling division, Snellings developed and advanced his skills of preparing yearlings for public auction.
This skill set guides him in his current position at Denali Stud. In 2009, Snellings became the yearling and sales manager at Denali Stud. Over the years, Denali Stud has grown to be a top five consignor in the major public auction market.
Craig Bandoroff, President and Owner of Denali Stud, knew from the beginning that he was getting a top manager for Denali Stud. “When Donnie Snellings became available almost ten years ago, I knew we were getting an All-Pro player. The role he’s played at Denali Stud is invaluable. It is safe to say that Denali wouldn’t be where it is today without Donnie’s contribution. I’m very proud to see him receive this prestigious recognition and award.”
Snellings is a true horseman. Over the years he has had the honor of raising and selling numerous graded stakes horses, two Kentucky Derby winners, and even a Dubai World Cup winner. Snellings hopes to continue to hone his skills so that he can pass on a legacy for many years to come.
The KTFMC will honor Donnie Snellings as the 2018 “Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year” at its annual Dinner Dance on Friday, December 7, 2018.