Claiborne Farm's Clay Hancock Dies at 71

Clay Hancock, eldest daughter of A.B. Hancock Jr., was active in animal rescue work.

Clay Hancock, who brought a key partner into her family’s Claiborne Farm, died of a heart attack Aug. 8 at age 71.

The second child of Waddell and A.B. “Bull” Hancock Jr., Clay Hancock lived on the farm outside Paris, Ky., which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. Bull Hancock, one of the greatest breeders in the history of the sport, is to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Aug. 12 in the Pillars of the Turf category.

Clay Hancock was not involved in the running of Claiborne, but was a lover of all animals who started PAWS (Paris Animal Welfare Society), a rescue organization. She bred and owned many generations of Labrador retrievers.

“She was always rescuing dogs and horses, and was a charter member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA),” said her brother Arthur Hancock III of nearby Stone Farm. “We grew up together and she was a good, kind person with a wonderful sense of humor. She was at Claiborne to see horses like Nasrullah and Princequillo arrive there.”

While in St. Louis, Clay Hancock became friends with Adele Dilschneider, and eventually introduced her to Claiborne, an association that has proved especially fruitful. Claiborne Farm and Dilschneider co-bred and co-owned champion and grade I winner Blame , grade I winner Lea , and graded stakes winners Congrats , Departing, Grassy, Lattice, Mighty, Roar, and Yell. The two entities also co-owned grade I winner Arch and co-bred graded stakes winners Taris, Carve, Size, and Vexed.

“She was a great person,” said her younger sister Dell Hancock. “Although she wasn’t as involved in the horse business at Claiborne, she cared deeply about the farm and loved all animals.”

Clay Hancock is also survived by her brother Seth, who ran Claiborne after the death of their father and has recently transitioned the legendary farm to the care of his son Walker.

Services will be private, and Clay Hancock requested her ashes be spread over Claiborne Farm.