Highland Farm For Sale

Four years after they purchased and expanded Highland Farm near Paris, Ky., George and Kay Hofmeister have listed the Bourbon County estate for sale for $60 million.

"We're going to scale way back, but we're not going to leave the industry," Hofmeister said June 21.

Hofmeister entered the Thoroughbred business in 1997 and put together a broodmare band about 50 strong within a year. He also bought a majority interest in the Vinery stallion operation, near Midway, Ky., and a farm in Australia. That farm became and remains Vinery Australia. In 1999, both Vinery operations were sold to Tom Simon.

Hofmeister said he now owns about 120 broodmares, most of which are kept in Kentucky. When asked if a dispersal is in the works, Hofmeister said, "I'm studying different issues."

A representative of Hoffman International Properties, which is listing the farm, said a $9-million inventory of horses, including breeding rights to the stallion Real Quiet, is included in the sale.

Hofmeister said the decision to put the 2,000-acre Paris property, which includes a 35,000-square-foot custom home, was made because he and his wife "decided we were going to move back into Lexington." Hofmeister said the daily activities of their three children were occupying their time.

However, Lexington Herald-Leader story on June 23 reported that one of Hofmeister's companies, American Commercial Holdings, faces legal actions from creditors who claim they are owed about $1 million.

Hofmeister also recently had trouble with a former partner. In May, Hofmeister's farm manager, Peter Kirwan, entered a lien against 52 horses managed by New Classic Breeders. The lien claimed Highland was owed $175,620 in back board payments by New Classic Breeders, whose principal, David Plummer, once headed Classic Breeders for Hofmeister.

Plummer said the lien document listed some horses that were at Highland, and some boarded at other farms. Plummer said an amount was agreed upon, but not $175,620, and paid through his attorney. "We were just trying to get the horses off the farm," Plummer said. "We felt it was crazy, and rather than be involved in something protracted, I paid it."

The horses in question are primarily yearlings that are foals of Highland-owned mares which were leased at the time they were foaled. Plummer said he hopes to recoup some of the money.

"It will probably be settled amicably," Plummer said. "We don't want anything bad to happen to him, I wish him the very best...but we don't want to be one of George's creditors."

Plummer's Blue Blood Farm near Kaysville, Utah, was once named Vinery West, but in 1999 it reverted to its original name.