04/28/2010 12:00AM

Hermitage Farm changes hands


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Louisville, Ky., entrepreneurs Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson have purchased about 500 acres of Churchill Downs chairman Carl Pollard's historic Hermitage Farm in Goshen, Ky.

Under an agreement they expect to close by the end of May, Brown and Wilson will lease back a portion of the farm to Pollard. He will continue to live on the farm and operate his Thoroughbred breeding business. The farm totals about 700 acres, and Brown and Wilson will place it in a conservation easement.

"We want to ensure the property remains pastoral but also continues to be regarded as a site for world-class equine operations," Wilson said.

Brown and Wilson are considering some improvements to the property to attract boarders for the World Equestrian Games. The World Equestrian Games take place every four years and will be held in the United States for the first time when they come to Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park in September.

Brown and Wilson previously had bought about 180 acres from Pollard in 2003 and leased that acreage back to him. Pollard purchased Hermitage from the family of Warner Jones in 1995. The farm has been home to such runners as 1953 Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star, 1983 English classic winner Lomond, and other Grade 1 and Group 1 winners.