“A good farm to know” is the motto of Hurstland Farm in Midway, Ky. That’s been true for almost a century since the farm, owned by the Nuckols family throughout its existence, began breeding and raising Thoroughbreds.
Hurstland is a full-service Thoroughbred operation, offering breeding, boarding, consignment, private sales, and breeding and mating consultation. The farm primarily breeds Thoroughbreds from its broodmare band to sell at the leading North American auctions held by Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton and also privately. It also has a thriving business as a boarding location for horses.
The farm’s origins trace back to the late 19th century and Alfred Hurst, who exchanged land near Versailles, Ky., for the present location near Midway. The farm was established as a Thoroughbred operation by Charles Nuckols, and has since passed through the generations of the Nuckols family. Hurstland has bred and/or raised over 220 stakes winners, beginning with Cherokee in 1922 and including such notable Thoroughbreds as 1931 Kentucky Oaks winner Cousin Jo.
Hurstland is presently operated by Alfred Hurst Nuckols Jr., a fifth-generation owner of the farm. Alfred Nuckols Jr. learned the ropes of Thoroughbred breeding as a child working on the farm at Hurstland with his father Alfred Nuckols Sr. After graduating from the University of Kentucky’s law school, he worked in legal and consulting jobs but returned to Hurstland in the early 1980s, and assumed sole ownership of the farm in 1995. Alfred Nuckols received the Farm Manager of the Year Award in 2013 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club. His son, Alfred Hurst Nuckols III, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, is employed at Hurstland. Cousin Charles Nuckols III manages nearby Nuckols Farm, another successful family-oriented Thoroughbred operation with a rich history.
Among Hurstland’s successful recent graduates are 2014 Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes winner Rosalind (co-bred and consigned as a yearling), and 2012 European champion 2-year-old filly Certify (co-bred and consigned as a yearling).
Aside from all of its success as a breeding operation, Hurstland also has the distinction of serving as the original site of Old Friends, the popular and ever-growing Thoroughbred retirement facility. Founder Michael Blowen started Old Friends in 2003 and leased acreage Hurstland before moving the facility to its current location at nearby Dream Chase Farm. The Nuckols family is committed to Thoroughbred aftercare, and Hurstland itself houses a few retirees from the racetrack.