Camera-Shy Kelley Did Not ‘Get His Preak On’

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Oxbow's saddle towel & Black-Eyed Susans on display at the barn after Preakness win Oxbow's saddle towel & Black-Eyed Susans on display at the barn after Preakness win

Brad Kelley, owner of Preakness winner Oxbow and recent buyer of historic Calumet Farm, was not on hand when his horse captured the second jewel in the Triple Crown last week.

Despite his vast wealth and high-publicized purchases, camera-shy Kelley has managed to stay almost entirely out of the public eye. The businessman, who made about $1 billion in the sale of a discount cigarette business (though does not smoke himself) has rarely ever been interviewed by the press, hates crowds, and seems to go to excessive lengths to keep people out of his personal life and business ventures. Even people who have done business with him don’t return comment to the media when asked about Kelley.

According to a report by The Tennessean, Kelley at one point owned 11 percent of Churchill Downs but sold out his shares when the company took on slot machines because he did not want people poking around in his business during the vetting process for an owner of a gaming operation.

“Kelley strikes me as our local version of the guy in the Dos Equis commercials,” writes David Climer. “Think of him as the most interesting man in Tennessee [where Kelley and his family live]. If you take his picture, the only thing you come up with is a frame that is blank except for the word Really?”

Read more at The Tennessean

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  • Tinky

    He made his fortune selling discount cigarettes? Who wouldn’t subsequently hide?

    • louisbille

      On Kelley: He does things his own way. He made $1 billion in the discount cigarette business but doesn’t smoke and said in a rare interview: “I never defended it. Hopefully it will be phased out of society.”

      • Tinky

        Yes, and I’m quite sure that arms dealers look forward to peace on earth, as well.

  • Beach

    “At one of his many properties, Rum Creek Ranch in Florida, Kelley raises
    exotic animals, including hippos, rhinos, tapirs and antelopes. He is
    deeply committed to the conservationist movement.”

    Might not be a bad idea to tackle the plight of the American mustang. This sounds like the kind of man who could do it.

  • Richard C

    Compare him to another Tennessee-based businessman – and high-profile owner of the Cleveland Browns – Jimmy Haslam……and all the current problems the latter has, while trying to be a kinder, gentler version of Donald Trump. Sometimes the best policy is to keep the spotlight away and simply work hard in business – a reality without Reality TV.

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