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Spotlight on Paris: Where legendary horses leave their legacy

Posted at 9:09 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 09:26:13-05

PARIS, Ky. (LEX 18) — Central Kentucky is known around the world for its thoroughbred horse farms.

Some of the greatest horses to ever race were either foaled in Paris or carried out their breeding days in Paris. Claiborne Farm bred and owned the 1984 Kentucky Derby Winner. The 3,000 acre farm is also where the great Secretariat carried out his legacy.

The thoroughbred breeding operation has been in Paris for over a century. Farm President Walker Hancock has been at the helm since 2015.

"I grew up on the farm watching my dad," Hancock reflected. "He is still around and comes in every day. He was here before me, but it is nice to have him as a sounding board."

Having that sounding board is important, especially when you're making some of the biggest decisions in the thoroughbred breeding industry at a legendary farm.

"They really had a lot of success here," Hancock said. "A lot of the bloodlines come from this farm."

The farm is only as good as the horses who call it or called it home.

"You know, I'll be traveling and I'll have a Claiborne hat on or a Claiborne jacket, and everyone once in a while you'll have someone say, 'Oh, I've been there' or 'Oh that is where Secretariat is and I've seen his grave," Hancock said.

Secretariat moved to Claiborne after winning the Triple Crown, a permanent part of the farm's legacy.

"My dad had just taken over the famr when it was time for Secretariat to come to stud," Hancock said. "He put the deal together. At the time, it was a record price."

While the competition is world-wide, Hancock doesn't forget the values that got the farm to where it is today.

"We're a family-run farm, we have been for five generations now," Hancock explained. "We're just local Kentucky folks, and we take pride in that. We're proud of our history and our heritage and look forward to it in the future."