Laura Lee Brown & Steve Wilson Owners
Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson continue to honor Hermitage’s remarkable equine tradition as they expand the vision of the farm’s three previous owners. Brown and Wilson have found success by using their passion and intuition as a guide in farming, preservation, philanthropic giving, hospitality, investment, and collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. They are owners of 21c Museum Hotels and the Kentucky Bison Company and live at Woodland Farm, which they put into an agriculture easement with the state’s PACE Program (Purchase of Agriculture Conservation Easement).
Bill Landes General Manager
Bill came to the farm in 1977 and for eighteen years served as Warner Jones right-hand man. It was during this time that he was involved in the sale and preparation of the world record yearling Seattle Dancer for $13.1 million, managed the career of leading sire Raja Baba, and played a key role in the 1987 dispersal of 130 head of Jones’ stock that sold at Keeneland for $32.6 million. Over the course of 39 years, Bill has sold several hundred yearlings, including G1 winners Siphonic, Mani Bhavan, Tap To Music, and C.S. Silk and Paola Queen. Bill is a past President of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and is currently appointed by Governor Bevin as chairman of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund Advisory Committee.
Brian Knippenberg Farm Manager
Brian’s love for horses and Hermitage developed at an early age. A Columbus, Ohio native, he spent childhood summers visiting family in Goshen–his uncle was Warner Jones’ Farm Manager for 30 years. In 1997, he came to work at Hermitage for one summer and he’s been here ever since. He immersed himself in the operations and worked every job on the farm to learn firsthand the inner workings of the industry. At the age of 28, he became one of the youngest farm managers in Kentucky. In addition to overseeing the growing Thoroughbred operation, Brian is a licensed horse trainer and trains young horses on the side. His motto? Be honest. Keep it simple. Put the horses first.