ESPN's Dick Vitale.

ESPN's Dick Vitale.

Washington Speakers Bureau

Dickie V.'s Bluegrass Experience

The Thoroughbred industry is getting a lot of free publicity from ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale. During two recent national telecasts of University of Kentucky men's basketball games on the all-sports network, Vitale plugged his visits to the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., and Robert and Blythe Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky.

"No trip to Kentucky is complete without a visit to the beautiful horse farms," Vitale said. "I love seeing all the great stallions, the new foals, and the mares."

Vitale visited Claiborne prior to the Feb. 11 game against the University of Georgia, and Three Chimneys prior to the Feb. 4 game against the University of Florida.

Visiting Kentucky farms is nothing new for Vitale, who proudly said he has a photo of his daughter, Terri, with Secretariat when he stood at Claiborne.

"This is something I've been doing for over 20 years," Vitale said. "I love touring Claiborne, Three Chimneys, Calumet, Spendthrift, and all of the beautiful farms down in Lexington. I just get so absolutely in awe. The horses are just so gorgeous."

While at Claiborne, Vitale visited the stallion barn and new foals. The vocal sports announcer also posed for photos with new foals, as well as with farm employees. He autographed an Ashley Judd poster, which had been autographed by Judd, another frequent visitor to the farm.

Three Chimneys Farm manager Dan Rosenberg said Vitale understands that racehorses are athletes.

"You can't buy better publicity than this. Every time he mentions coming out here I get phone calls from all over the country from people just asking about the farm," Rosenberg said.