Claiborne Blog

2017 Stallion Superlatives

Posted on: June 20, 2017


Posted on: May 30, 2017

Over the weekend, we hit 20,000 likes on Facebook! WOW! We love sharing our little slice of heaven and are thankful you all take interest in our farm and Thoroughbreds!

As a token of our gratitude, we’re having a giveaway! One lucky winner will be receiving a copy of the book From Here to the Bugle by Frank Jennings that outlines the early history of the Hancock family and Claiborne Farm signed by Seth Hancock and Walker Hancock, plus a Claiborne Farm calendar with photos by Dell Hancock!

Follow the link below to enter! The contest will be open until Tuesday, June 13th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vote For Us!

Posted on: May 15, 2017

Friends, we need your help! If you love Claiborne Farm, we would be so honored if you took the time to vote for us in the 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards.


TO VOTE: click here, navigate to the “Locations” category, and vote for us under the “Horse Farm” tab.

Thank you in advance! We have the BEST fans and love sharing this little slice of heaven with you!

Claiborne’s Late Sire Pulpit Well Represented at Eclipse Awards

Posted on: January 20, 2017

Claiborne Farm’s remarkable sire Pulpit passed away at the age of 18 in 2012, but his legacy as a sire continues to endure. The most recent evidence of Pulpit’s greatness can be seen in the older dirt male category for this year’s Eclipse Awards. Interestingly, the trio of finalists—California Chrome, Frosted and Lord Nelson—are all either sons or grandsons of this influential stallion.

With 25 sons at stud internationally, Pulpit is carrying on the tradition of his sire line as a sire of sires. In 2016, his son Tapit was the leading North American sire by earnings for the third consecutive year, while Lucky Pulpit was ranked sixth. For three of the last five years, Pulpit’s sons Parading, Sightseeing and Corinthian have also ranked in the top 20 on their respective first-crop sire lists.

A son of A.P. Indy, Pulpit won four of six starts during his career while racing as a homebred for Claiborne, including the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes. He retired with earnings of $728,200.

Pulpit returned to his birthplace to begin his stallion career. He is the sire of 15 crops of racing age, 948 foals, 796 starters, 72 black-type winners, 1 champion, 584 winners of 1816 races and earnings of $76,700,042. Pulpit is the broodmare sire of 42 black-type winners, including champions Aces Star, The Mindfulangel, and of Due Diligence, Departing, Real Solution, Madefromlucky, Land Over Sea, Newsdad, Karlovy Vary, Storming Inti, Cage Fighter, Mi Suerte, The Great War, Rocket Time, Irish You Well.

California Chrome, by Pulpit’s son Lucky Pulpit, made headlines in 2014 when he captured both the G1 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. His status as a finalist in the dirt male and Horse of the Year categories was earned by virtue of victories in his first six races this year, including the G1 Dubai World Cup. In the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 5, California Chrome lost by a half-length to Arrogate, who he will face in an highly anticipated rematch in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 28.  Furthermore, California Chrome retires as the richest racehorse in history, with career earnings over $14.5 million.

Multiple graded stakes winner Frosted, another one of Pulpit’s grandsons, is by three-time North American leading sire Tapit. Frosted’s 2016 season was highlighted by a dominating 14 ¼-length score in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap, the largest margin of victory in the history of the race. Frosted also broke the Met Mile stakes record and was just two-fifths of a second off the track record with a final time of 1:32.73. The strapping gray retired in 2016 as Tapit’s richest son, with career earnings of nearly $4 million. He won six of 19 races, including this year’s G1 Whitney and Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan (G2); plus the G1 Wood Memorial and G2 Pennsylvania Derby in 2015.

Pulpit’s son Lord Nelson has carried on his sire’s legacy well with a perfect four-for-four record during his 4-year-old season, including three consecutive grade I victories: the Triple Bend, Bing Crosby and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The Bing Crosby was a record-setting performance, in which he won by four lengths and ran six furlongs in 1:07.65. The final time bettered a stakes record that had stood at Del Mar since 1962.

A stakes winner at 2, 3, and 4, Lord Nelson has finished first or second in seven of eight sprint starts, six of them in graded events, for career earnings of $958,271. For his 2016 efforts, he is an Eclipse Award finalist in both the male sprinter and older dirt male categories.

With so many accolades to Pulpit’s credit, including this year’s Eclipse Award dirt male finalists, this remarkable sire has cemented his place among Claiborne Farm’s long list of breed-shaping stallions.

2016 Top Ten

Posted on: December 24, 2016


It was another memorable year at Claiborne Farm! Thank you for your support throughout the year, and we look forward to sharing more memories with you in 2017!



DRF Podcast With Walker Hancock, President of Claiborne Farm

Posted on: December 10, 2016

Original post published on TDN.

Just 24 when he took over as the head man at Claiborne, Walker Hancock not only understands and appreciates the Claiborne tradition, but he is the right age to lead the iconic breeding and racing operation into a future that is filled with new ideas, new concepts and new challenges. Now 27, Hancock has already made his mark by bringing the stallions Runhappy and Ironicus to Claiborne for the 2017 breeding season. In this week’s TDN podcast, Bill Finley touches base with one of racing’s brightest young leaders.

Click here to listen. 


Claiborne Farm Employee Wins a TIEA

Posted on: October 7, 2016

At Claiborne, we pride ourselves on having wonderfully skilled, life-long employees, and James Sebastian is the classic example. Today he was awarded the Godolphin Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award for Dedication to Breeding! Read more to learn about James and his 50 years at Claiborne Farm.

  • James is currently a part of our broodmare division. He serves as one of two people on the nightlyfoaling team where he puts in twelve hour shifts from January through June. For the remainder of the year, he works during the days and tends to the mares and foals.
  • We estimate that he has delivered 10,000 foals in his lifetime, including 100+ Grade 1 winners! Some names of Champions that would top his list would be Blame, Lure, Storm Flag Flying, My Flag, Personal Ensign, and Orb just to name a few. If you were to ask James for a favorite memory at Claiborne, he would probably say foaling and raising Forty Niner.
  • James has acquired a very watchful and observant eye for specific mare and foal behaviors. In fact, he knows nearly as much as a veterinarian. It seems he has a “sixth sense” for knowing when mares are getting close to foaling and can often predict the schedule for the days to come. Not only does he forecast the good news, but he can also tell when there is trouble. If James calls our vet or farm manager during the night, they might as well bring the van because it is a bad situation needing immediate medical attention.

Once again, congratulations James!

DRF Breeding Q&A with Claiborne Farm’s Walker Hancock

Posted on: September 9, 2016

Original post published on Daily Racing Form

by Joe Nevills | 09.09.2016 | 9:06am

While the past century has brought myriad changes to the Thoroughbred industry, there are a handful of things that remain certain: The sun will rise in the east, the seasons will come and go, and a Hancock will be in charge at Claiborne Farm.

Walker Hancock. Photo by Keeneland.
Walker Hancock. Photo by Keeneland.

Walker Hancock, 27, became the fourth generation to assume control of the historic farm, taking over in 2014 as Claiborne’s president from his father, Seth.

Like his father, the younger Hancock took the helm of the Paris, Ky., operation in his mid-20s. Hancock joked that he began his on-the-job training at age 4, eventually working with the farm’s yearling sale prep operation, racing stable, and as the resident veterinary technician during breeding season before taking on larger roles.

Since he became Claiborne’s president, the farm has started the stallion careers of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Data Link, and Lea, and campaigned graded stakes winners Lea, Departing, and Size with longtime business partner Adele Dilschneider. Claiborne Farm also has consigned a seven-figure horse at the past two Keeneland September yearling sales, both by elite commercial sire War Front, who resides as the farm’s flagship stallion.

Walker Hancock, who recently was elected as a Jockey Club member, spoke with Daily Racing Form in August about his first years at the helm of Claiborne Farm and his vision for the farm and the industry going forward.

How would you describe your first year and a half as president of Claiborne Farm?

“It’s been good. It’s been a learning process. Thankfully, I have my dad still around to bounce things off and learn from. He didn’t have that luxury because his father passed away abruptly. He was at a young age, I’m at a young age, but I’m blessed that he’s still around and we’ve got a good team here that makes everything a lot easier. It keeps it easy on me.”

What are you proudest of during your time in the position?

“I was pretty proud of Lea last year. The decision to bring him back after his illnesses, and then the way he just fought so hard in each race he ran in and came in second to some really nice horses. He went to Dubai and came third in the World Cup, then to come back and nearly miss in the Stephen Foster, nearly miss in the Woodbine Mile, and then run a great race in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and just get beat by a better horse in Liam’s Map.

“I’m very proud of the way his racing career ended, and now he’s a stallion here, so I’m looking forward to his offspring in the spring.”

How much of the philosophy of past generations of Hancocks have you brought into your own management style?

“My grandfather [Arthur B. Hancock Jr.] coined the phrase, ‘Do the usual unusually well,’ and when I was little, I didn’t understand what that meant. Now that I’m in this position, I understand it’s the little things that count.

“It’s hard enough to get a mare in foal, then have the foal and raise the foal, get it to the yearling sale, then get it to the racetrack and get it to cross the finish line first. There’s so much that goes into it that you just try to do the little things, and if you do the little things right, hopefully it’ll make the job easier and you’ll have more success. ‘Do the usual unusually well’ is something I’ve kind of taken to heart and am building around.”

How do you want to put your own stamp on the Claiborne brand?

“I just want to leave it better than the way I found it. If I can keep it going and am lucky enough to have kids and they want to do it, that’s the goal, because that means we’re still doing well, the business is still alive and fruitful. I think that would be a job well done.

“One thing I would love to see happen is cap the number of stallion certificates you can give a stallion. Say you get 100 stallion certificates, and that’s all you get. I think that would help our game more than you’d realize.

“I think that would bring back the market. So you’d have a Grade 2-winning colt that’s bred well. Instead of going to South America, he could come to Claiborne and breed 80 mares, because you can’t breed 210 to someone else. I think it would certainly hurt some farms that rely on doing that, and I understand that’s the business and it’s a great way to make money, but I think it hurts the overall game when it overfloods the market, which is why we’re always careful about breeding our stallions to too many mares, because we like to keep the supply low and the demand high.

“I remember my dad saying, ‘When we went from breeding 40 mares to 60 mares with stallions, everyone said, You can’t do that.’ But that was back when you didn’t have the ultrasound machine, and you had to breed the mare five times while they were in heat, so it was a little different.”

The top of the market has been moving more and more toward a handful of highly commercial sires, and you have one of them in War Front. How is he managed differently from the rest of the Claiborne roster?

“He’s actually managed a little differently. He breeds two times a day, and it’s not because he’s a bad breeder. He just does well that way, he gets his mares in foal that way, and we don’t want to screw it up. Why mess with it if it’s working?

“He’ll breed a book of 105 or 110 mares. If we really wanted to, we could probably breed him to 160, but then we couldn’t stand him for $200,000, so it’s long-term versus short-term, and we like to keep the longevity of our sires. You want to get to 18 or 19 years old and they’re still producing Grade 1 horses. We take that approach, and it’s worked for us.”

War Front has shown a broad international appeal, thanks in large part to the Coolmore partnership’s high-profile purchases and ontrack success. How has that helped further interest in the sire?

“Coolmore’s done an awesome job with the horse, helping make him as a sire. For that, we’re very appreciative. They’ve obviously expanded his horizons in England and Ireland and all over Europe, even Hong Kong. It definitely helps. When the European buyers come over here, they all look at War Fronts because they see them winning their races.”

What do you like to see in a horse?

“I like athletes. I was a manager for the Florida football team in college for two seasons, so I was around a bunch of high-quality athletes, and the thing that always struck me was even the defensive linemen were just athletes. They just moved differently from the big, fat guys.

“Obviously, you’re not going to have a full team of studs, but the best players were just the athletes. I don’t like if you go to see a horse walk and it’s dragging its feet or can’t turn and isn’t agile, or if it’s too fat or skinny. I just like the horses to be athletes, and that’s what I look for.

“For stallions, there’s so much involved. They have to have the page, they have the race record, they have to have the pedigree, the dam, sire, so much more than the yearlings.

“If you look at a horse like Algorithms, he’s the most athletic stallion we have. I wasn’t necessarily in charge yet, but he was one of the ones that we were bringing along when I was learning. Seeing him and how he’s developed and how his 2-year-olds are doing, it’s made my opinion correct that you have to be an athlete to be successful.”

What is your assessment of the yearling market right now?

“Quality’s going to sell. The upper echelon – Book 1 and 2 – will be fine. Book 3 will be fine. When you start to get into Book 4, that’s when the quality drops off and I think the buying market drops off as well.

“For that, you’ve got to be a little hesitant, especially after seeing the results at the OBS sale. That market just isn’t there anymore, for whatever reason. Not that the horses are falling off that bad. You still see stakes winners that come out of Books 5 and 6, you’ve just got to pick through them. I guess we’re at a place where there’s too many horses for the market right now. Unfortunately, if you have a bad one, you’re in trouble.”

Visit DRF Breeding Live throughout the Keeneland September yearling sale for more from Walker Hancock’s Q&A.

2016 Secretariat Festival

Posted on: September 1, 2016

The 9th Annual Secretariat Festival is coming to downtown Paris, Kentucky this year! Be sure to check out a fun-filled weekend for the whole family! For more information, visit or

Visitor Center: Open!

Posted on: August 22, 2016

Inside the new Visitor Center.

We are so thrilled to announce that our Visitor Center is OPEN! It is located in the white house in front of the office. This is now where our tours begin and end.

Inside there are gift items such as hats, t-shirts, accessories, and home goods as well as snacks and beverages. We hope to have an online store in the very near future. If there’s something you can’t live without right now though, feel free to e-mail us!

We hope you’ll come by and check out the new space! We are open 9:30 – 12:30 any day that tours are running. Our ribbon cutting with the Paris-Bourbon Country Chamber of Commerce is set for Thursday, September 15th at noon.


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