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UK QB Will Levis signs NIL deal with Claiborne Farm

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Posted at 10:41 PM, Apr 06, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Outside of Keeneland meets and during the Triple Crown, Kentucky's horse farms don't get a whole lot of mainstream attention, so when Claiborne Farm president Walker Hancock's phone started lighting up Wednesday, he knew he had something special.

"My phone's already died today. People texting, calling, people I haven't heard from in ten years being like, 'This is so cool! I just saw this on Twitter or Sports Illustrated,'" Hancock said.

Claiborne Farm is home to serious equine athletes. Legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat stood at stud there and is buried on the grounds, and they've had plenty of success with other horses over the years. However, this is the first time they've made waves with a football player. Will Levis has signed a NIL deal with the farm to promote breeding seasons for stallion War of Will.

"It just so happens that War of Will has a lot of similarities that Will Levis does - star athlete, he was a great racehorse. He's a young stallion prospect, obviously, Will is a young football prospect," Hancock said.

War of Will raced in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. He was caught up in the incident in the final turn that led to Maximum Security's disqualification. He went on to win the 2019 Preakness.

"To be interfered with, almost falling down, then two weeks later, come back and win a substantial race like the Preakness. He has willpower and certainly, we've seen it with Will Levis on the football field. His iconic moment is hurtling the Louisville defender and running people over," Hancock said.

Hancock is excited to partner with Levis to make history as the first deal between a college athlete and a horse farm promoting breeding seasons.

"It's gotten a lot of national attention today. It's obviously very unique. This NIL space is very new, but, yeah, I think a deal like this can only be done at the University of Kentucky, in the state of Kentucky," he said.