After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1975 I returned to the family owned Hurstland Farm owned at that time by brothers Charles and Alfred H. Nuckols. I went to work for Coopers and Lybrand (now Price Waterhouse Coopers) in 1978 as a tax consultant and planner specializing in the equine business in their Louisville office and later their Lexington office. Leaving Coopers, I practiced consulting and tax planning for a local Lexington company before returning to Hurstland Farm in 1983.
Upon the division of Hurstland Farm into Nuckols Farm and Hurstland Farm in 1986 I had the great fortune of working with both my father, Alfred, and my brother-in-law, Michael Barnett in the managing of Hurstland. After Michael’s decision to start his own farm which resulted in the creation of Blackburn Farm with my sister, Gay, I worked with my father until his death in 1991. In 1995, after my mother Sarah’s death, I became the owner of Hurstland with my wife, Leslie. I have owned and managed Hurstland Farm since then.
One of my most memorable moments in the thoroughbred business was winning the G3 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland in 1999 with my children’s good filly, Gimmeakissee, trained by my good friend Bob Leonard and ridden by Patty Cooksey. That was the last trophy presentation by Bill Greely, who was a good friend to my father and myself as well, before his retirement. My co-most memorable moment as a breeder was the selling of my Street Sense – Please Sign In short yearling filly in January 2013 for over a million dollars and topping the Keeneland January Sale. That was made possible by Darley buying and racing her half-sister, Certify, from me two years earlier in my other co-most memorable moment as a breeder and having Certify named champion European two-year old filly of 2012. Both Certify and the Street Sense yearling filly were bred on a foal share arrangement with Darley by fellow co-owner Bill Kartozian and myself.
Some of my best times in the business involved racing my good filly Kiss With a Twist, out of my children’s graded stakesmare, Gimmeakissee, with my children. Trained by Joe Fernandez at Calumet Farm, Joe and the kids and I had a great time. Joe and I vanned her to [/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Kentucky Downs in the old farm van and my son, Hurst, and I vanned her together to Ellis Park for stakes races. I hauled her to Churchill Downs several times with Joe and there is nothing more fun than good companionship and a fast horse! Right up there with those memories was when my old college roommate and dear friend, Jamie Greene, flew in for our filly Heart of Destiny and her second place finish to Stephanie’s Kitten in the 2011 G1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. That was definitely one of my most fun times in this business.
Working with horses has been the only thing that I have been really interested in since childhood. I wanted to work with the horses so badly as a young boy of twelve that I took a pay cut to work summers with the horses instead of doing farm work because my father thought I was too young and small to work with horses then. I have been extremely fortunate to do what I love most and create a lot of wonderful memories along the way. It hasn’t been as financially rewarding as a lot of careers are, but as my father always told me, “Son, farming is a great life, it just isn’t much of a living.” The great life part is definitely true and it has provided me with a livelihood for almost 35 years.
Congratulations to Alfred Nuckols, the 50th KTFMC Farm Manager of the Year!
What is the criteria for becoming Farm Manager of the Year?
The KTFMC “Farm Manager of the Year” is selected by a committee that is made up of a panel of five people:
- Ted Bates(permanent committee chair)
- The current Farm Manager of the year
- The previous year’s Farm Manager of the Year
- The current KTFMC President
- The previous year’s KTFMC President
The following criteria are used as the basis to select the person whom the panel feels is most qualified to represent the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club and our industry as the “Farm Manager of the Year.”
- Quality and success of management
- Service to the community
- Involvement in the KTFMC
- Industry leadership and dedication