A Passion for Horses
Since his childhood working at his father’s training stable, Lee loved horses. Once the business was doing well, Lee took any extra money he could scrape together and began buying standard bred horses and racing them in Northern Alberta. By the early 1940s, he had turned his attention to thoroughbreds. As his passion grew, so did his stable. At one point, Lee had approximately thirty thoroughbreds.
“My weakness is horses. I’d go anywhere to see a good horse. But I’m a very poor bettor, I can tell you that.” – Lee Williams
Lee began racing his horses all over Canada and the US, including Kentucky, Florida and California. He also became more involved in the industry. Like his other interactions, Lee was always there to lend a hand. When some of the old time trainers were struggling, he’d help them out.
“I just liked to help those old guys stay in the business and keep them going… I don’t suppose I got more than 10 percent on the dollar back, but that was fine with me.” – Lee Williams
Lee became the president of the Edmonton Exhibition Association, serving from 1943 to 1945. He was also a member of the Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society. Lee always found good people to work with. He and the Honourable Lucien Maynard, Attorney General of Alberta, helped to finance the start-up of thoroughbred racing in Lethbridge. One of the Lethbridge races was named for his wife: “The Marion Williams Handicap.”
Image Credits: Lee Williams with Canadian Derby Winner, Sonoma, 1959, Musée Héritage Museum