Denny and Lou Nunnelley.

Denny and Lou Nunnelley.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Romanoaks Sells at Auction for $1.9 Million

Denny and Lou Nunnelley have been looking for a farm for 25 years. On March 6 their search ended with the purchase of the 142-acre Romanoaks Farm near Versailles, Ky.

The farm was auctioned by Swinebroad-Denton with auctioneer Walt Robertson taking the bidding. The property brought $13,500 per acre, or $1,920,483. More than 250 bidders registered for the auction which included the land, farm implements, and personal items. Doug Cauthen, president of neighboring WinStar Farm, was the underbidder at $13,000 an acre.

Lou Nunnelley said after looking at farms for years and some unsuccessful attempts to convince farm owners to sell other properties, she fell in love with the back 40 acres of Romanoaks where the couple plans to build a house.
"It's lovely," she said. "You drive down a tree-lined lane to a perfect spot for a house. It's beautiful."

Denny Nunnelley, who served as a Kentucky state Senator from 1995-98, now works in Frankfort, Ky., as a lobbyist for the Kentucky Association of Counties. He is also involved in trying to return Quarter Horse racing to Kentucky. Lou said she and her husband are interested in both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. They currently own one horse but plan to attend the upcoming Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training. Lou Nunnelley said she grew up on two farms operated by her parents in the Versailles area, including Stonewall Farm. Her father, Edgar Kitchen, bred grade I winner Track Robbery.

George and Christine Holtsinger founded Romanoaks Farm in 1960. Until now their daughter, Joan Turner, operated the farm. Turner, 68, said she decided to sell because she has no children and her health is deteriorating. She has dispersed her bloodstock holdings privately and at Keeneland sales over the last 12 months. Among the horses bred or co-bred by the Holtsinger family was Touch Gold, winner of the 1997 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).