William Stamps Farish III

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William Stamps Farish III (2002)

William Stamps Farish III (born March 17, 1939, in Houston, Texas) is an American businessman and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2001–2004).

Family and early life[edit]

His father, William Stamps Farish, Jr., was killed in an airplane accident during World War II. He is the grandson of William Stamps Farish II, who was President of Standard Oil from 1937 to 1942.

Farish grew up in Houston, Texas, where he attended St. John's School. He is also a graduate of the University of Virginia.[1]


Farish owns W.S. Farish & Co., a trust company based in Houston, Texas. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Kentucky.

He has served on the Board of Directors of Vaalco Energy Inc..

Lane's End Farm[edit]

A breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, in 1979 Farish bought the 240 acres that had been Bosque Bonita Farm near Lexington, Kentucky.[2] Over the years it would be expanded to 1,800-acre (7.3 km2) and renamed Lane's End Farm. A leading breeder of horses that compete around the world, Lane's End Farm hosted Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Lexington. He also owns a home in the horse community of Wellington, Florida.

Lane's End has a secondary 400-acre (1.6 km2) operation near Hempstead, Texas. Farish's operations have bred and/or raced over 225 horses that became stakes winners, both individually and with partners. In 1972, his horse Bee Bee Bee won the Preakness Stakes and his filly Casual Look won a British Classic, the 2003 Epsom Oaks. In 1992 and again in 1999, he received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder.

William Farish has served as chairman of Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby.


Farish was nominated by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom on March 5, 2001, appointed on July 11, 2001, and served until he resigned in early summer 2004.

The United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian commented on his low profile during the period leading up to the Iraq War.[3] Her Majesty's former Ambassador to Washington, Christopher Meyer, said that "as ambassador [Farish] proved as agreeable as he was invisible." (Christopher Meyer, D.C. Confidential, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005)

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Philip Lader
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Robert H. Tuttle