06/16/2005 11:00PM

Waddell Hancock dies


Waddell Hancock, the widow of Claiborne Farm owner A.B. "Bull" Hancock, Jr., died at her home near Paris, Ky., on Friday. She was 90.

The Hancocks had four children. The younger of two sons, Seth, is president of Claiborne and owns the legendary breeding farm with his sisters Dell and Clay. The Hancocks' older son, Arthur III, owns Stone Farm.

Hancock also has eight grandchildren among her survivors.

A Nashville, Tenn., native, Waddell Hancock married Bull Hancock in the 1940's and saw her husband build upon his own father's legacy at Claiborne, making Claiborne one of the world's premier Thoroughbred nurseries and stallion farms in the modern era. Bull Hancock died in 1972.

Although she did not take a public role in Claiborne's management, Waddell Hancock was considered the farm's matriarch. She witnessed its glory at close hand and contributed to its prosperity behind the scenes. When Bull imported Nasrullah in the early 1950's, Waddell Hancock once recalled, the horse arrived on July 4, and she told her husband that she thought the stallion would represent Independence Day for the farm. Nasrullah went on to lead the stallion rankings five times, keeping the farm at the forefront of the Thoroughbred business through such progeny as Bold Ruler and Nashua.

"I'm kind of like Scarlett O'Hara," she once said in a Thoroughbred Times interview. "I would fight tooth and nail to keep this place going."

Graveside services will take place on June 20 at 11 a.m. at the Paris Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Edmond Boyle, E.J. Caswell, Jim Friess, Gus Koch, John Sosby, and Ronnie Hunt. There will be no visitation. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Main Street in Lexington is in charge of arrangements.

Contributions can be made to the A.B. Hancock Lab for Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University, 2525 West End Ave., Suite 450, Nashville, TN, 37203.