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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Young master of historic Claiborne presiding over new venture

Marchmont Stable prospecting colts with track and stud potential

This $775,000 Pioneerof The Nile colt is Marchmont's biggest investment so far
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For generations, Kentucky's venerable Claiborne Farm and its partners have been making racing history.

Now a new chapter is about to unfold, with Claiborne quietly launching a racing partnership venture under the name of Marchmont Stable. Its aim, under youthful farm president Walker Hancock, is to campaign colts with the potential to win major events and go on to stud duty.


Initial steps for the partnership have been taken this week at the Keeneland September Sale, with a team selecting prospects. And four colts were acquired on the second day and third days of Book 2 for a total of $1.8 million, with the potential of more to come.

"We're going to buy a few colts for the next couple of years and see how it goes," Hancock explained. "It's kind of a new venture we're going to try out. Some of our clients wanted to race more horses, so we're looking forward to it. It should be fun."

Walker Hancock, Claiborne president, looking to give clients 'more action' on the track
Those partners did not want their names disclosed, but Hancock added: "These are some clients that have horses already, but they just have a few and I think they want some more action. We're just trying to give them that."

Hancock also revealed that Bill Mott and Christophe Clement will train the Marchmont horses.


The new venture's biggest investment to date is a $775,000 son of Pioneerof the Nile, bred by Hinkle Farms from the family of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Mubtaker. "He's the kind of horse we're looking for," Hancock said. "It's probably a little more than we wanted to spend but he's a nice colt."

Earlier in Thursday's session, Marchmont had also gained an Uncle Mo colt from the family of Group 1 winner Ivyanna, likewise bred by Hinkle Farms, for $500,000.

Named after a division of the Claiborne property, Marchmont began its buying the previous day with a chestnut son of Malibu Moon out of stakes-placed My Lady Lauren, by Hard Spun, who cost $275,000. The colt's third dam Star of Goshen produced Pioneerof The Nile, sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Bred by former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, the Malibu Moon colt was consigned by Eaton Sales.


Marchmont also was listed as buyer of a bay colt by Lemon Drop Kid for $250,000 from the Gainesway consignment on Wednesday. That colt is out of the Storm Cat mare Panthera, a daughter of champion Queena and half-sister to Grade 1 winner Brahms, placed in the Dewhurst and Middle Park Stakes as a juvenile.

"We're just trying to find the best colts we can and that will be fun to race," Hancock said. "We have a team of us [here] so it's been a fun process. We haven't bought yearlings for a while, but we've had fun doing it and we're excited."

Blame, here the sole conqueror of Zenyatta, was a recent example of horses racing in partnership for Claiborne
Recalling some of Claiborne's past glories, he noted that the farm raced Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Swale in its own name. Claiborne is also well known for the many outstanding runners it has campaigned with partners, such as two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Lure, bred with William Haggin Perry's The Gamely Corp and raced with Perry's widow, Nicole Gorman; and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame, bred and raced with Adele Dilschneider.

"We had the racing stable back in the 1980s and we won the Derby, so we figured we'd call [the new racing partnership] after another property of the farm and see if we could have some luck with it," Hancock said.

The Marchmont division of Claiborne is a tranquil area where some pensioners have grazed, including Lure; and where a number of hallowed champions and top sires are buried – including Damascus, Easy Goer, Sir Ivor and Unbridled.

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We haven't bought yearlings for a while, but we've had fun doing it and we're excited
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