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Blame (right) beats Zenyatta in the classic at Churchill Downs Louisville 6.11.10   Blame (right): represents five generations of Claiborne breeding   PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) 

Claiborne to receive Eclipse Award of Merit

CLAIBORNE Farm will be honoured with the Eclipse Award of Merit for outstanding achievement at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony in Miami later this month.

The Hancock family's farm enjoyed their 100th year of operation in 2010, a celebration which was capped by the Breeders' Cup Classic victory of homebred Blame.

"It's more of a tribute to my grandfather and father," said owner Seth Hancock, who will receive the award alongside his sisters Dell and Clay. "My grandfather started all this over here in Kentucky, and my dad built it up into what it was, and I'm just trying to keep it going."

Claiborne Farm was established in 1910 just outside Paris, Kentucky, by Arthur B. Hancock, who put his stamp on American breeding by importing European stallions Sir Gallahad III and Blenheim to stand at the farm.

Hancock died in 1957 and under the leadership of his son, Arthur 'Bull' Hancock, the farm's fortunes continued to rise with Nasrullah, Bold Ruler and Round Table each developing into breed-shaping sires.

Seth Hancock took over management of the farm aged just 23 upon his father's death in 1972. He created immediate headlines by syndicating Secretariat for $6 million - then a record - and went on to oversee the careers of Danzig, Mr Prospector and Nijinsky. Today, the farm is home to 11 stallions including Arch, Pulpit and Arch's multiple Grade 1-winning son Blame, who will stand his first season for $35,000.

Blame represents five generations of Claiborne breeding as a descendant of Rough Shod, an inspired purchase by Bull Hancock at Tattersalls in 1951. The daughter of Gold Bridge went on to produce Horse of the Year Moccasin and Grade 1 winner Ridan for Claiborne and become the ancestress of Nureyev, Sadler's Wells and Thatch.

Claiborne also bred and campaigned Kentucky Derby winners Swale (1984) and Forty Niner (1988).

 

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