Calumet Farm

Calumet Farm

Anne M. Eberhardt

Rumored Calumet Farm Sale Still Unconfirmed

Attempts to contact rumored buyer Brad Kelley have been unsuccessful.

As rumors in Central Kentucky continue to swirl about the possible sale of historic Calumet Farm, people are talking—but not saying much other than the farm has not been sold.

It is widely speculated billionaire Brad Kelley, owner of Hurricane Hall Farm and its racing  division, Bluegrass Hall, is attempting to purchase Calumet, which is owned by the de Kwiatkowski family and a group of trustees. Attempts by The Blood-Horse to reach Kelley the week of April 15 have been unsuccessful.

Rumors have circulated for almost a week. As of April 20 a sale, or even intentions to entertain a sale, hadn’t been confirmed.

“The farm has not been sold,” said Bud Greely, an adviser for the trust.“I can’t confirm or deny anything other than what I have just told you.”

“It has not been sold," Calumet farm manager Bill Wittman. "They don’t discuss things with me."

Kelley, 54, was born in Franklin, Ky., and founded Commonwealth Tobacco, a discount cigarette company, in 1990. He sold the business for $1 billion in 2001 and since has acquired more than a million acres of property in Florida, New York, and Texas.

Kelley is a former Churchill Downs Inc. stockholder, and also owned Kentucky Downs, which is located in his hometown on the Tennessee border. He has been active at Thoroughbred auctions and owns roughly 60 broodmares.

Calumet, perhaps the most recognized property in Central Kentucky, sits on more than 700 acres along Versailles Road near Keeneland. It has a long history of producing top horses, but fell into bankruptcy in the early 1990s. The late Henryk de Kwiatkowski purchased the farm at auction in 1992 and restored the property.