Category Archives: Racing

Old Friends Again Named Charity Beneficiary of Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity

Old Friends is so proud to have been chosen, for the third consecutive year, as one of the charities to benefit from the Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity program.

Maker’s Mark®, Kentucky’s original premium bourbon, and the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international event, have again joined forces to create a beautiful, limited-edition bottle honoring a legend of the annual championships.

This 2018 edition will pay tribute to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the all-time leading trainer in Breeders’ Cup history with 20 victories during his career.

Old Friends will share in this campaign with the Kentucky Derby Museum, one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this commemorative bottle will go to the charities.

Bottles are available for a donation of $400, and fans can secure their collectible right now through the Champions for Charity website:  https://www.breederscup.com/champions-for-charity.

Donors can collect their bottles during a Champions for Charity event in Louisville, KY (details to be announced) prior to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, November 3rd and 4th.

Pick up will also be available at the Breeders’ Cup offices in Lexington, KY 10 days after the event, and information about additional retrieval options will be made available soon.

We are especially excited about honoring our friend and supporter D. Wayne Lukas, who trained Old Friends retirees Charismatic and Gulch, who won the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Also, don’t forget to also reserve your tickets to the Old Friends Breeders’ Cup Party at the Georgetown, KY farm on Sunday, November 4th and come celebrate the 30th anniversary of Gulch’s Breeders’ Cup win. Tickets are $30 ($15 for 2018 membership holders; kids under 12 are free) and can be ordered via our website (www.oldfriendsequine.org) or by calling the office at (502) 863-1775.

A P Valentine, Son of A. P. Indy, Euthanized at 20

A P Valentine © Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2018 – A P Valentine, a Gr. 1 winner, was euthanized due to complications from colic on September 1 at Park Equine Hospital in Woodford County. The 20-year-old son of A. P. Indy had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY.

Campaigned by Rick Pitino’s Ol’ Memorial Stable (formerly Celtic Pride Stables) and trainer Nick Zito, A P Valentine (out of the Alydar mare Twenty Eight Carat) was a leading 2-year-old of 2000 having captured that year’s Gr. 1 Champagne Stakes.

The following year the colt broke the 1/16 miles track record at an optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and upwards at Hialeah Park before embarking on the Triple Crown trail, where he placed second to Point Given in the 2001 Preakness Stakes.

A P Valentine was retired from racing in 2001 to Ashford/Coolmore Stud but was soon pensioned due to unresolvable fertility problems.

In 2004, A P Valentine was pensioned with veterinarian Dr. William C. Day, a stallion reproductive specialist based in in Brenham, TX.  While preparing to sell his farm, Dr. Day retired the horse to Old Friends earlier this year.

“I loved that horse. He was very kind, very gentle,” said Dr. Day. “I have about 30 stallions on the farm, and he was by far the most affectionate. He didn’t have an evil bone in his body.”

“I first noticed A P Valentine before his Preakness Stakes because his silks were white with a green shamrock and he raced for Rick Pitino’s Celtic Pride Stable,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “As a longtime Celtics fan, I rooted for him as if he was Larry Bird. When he came here to Old Friends, it was love at first sight for virtually all of our volunteers and employees.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends August Newsletter

Green Mask (Photo: Laura Battles)

News from Michael Blowen:

Our visit to Saratoga Springs in New York was really great. The support for Old Friends, in general, and Old Friends at Cabin Creek, specifically, has never been better.

Joanne’s party at the Saratoga National Golf Club and Joe Bokan’s soiree at Anne’s Washington Inn were both enthusiastically attended and raised a lot of awareness and funds. Many owners and trainers who retired Thoroughbreds with us inquired about their horses, and others asked about eventually sending their horses to Old Friends.

The reception from fans was over the top, and it was great spending time with Lorita and Anthony and Jack Knowlton, in particular. It’s helped us re-double efforts to expand our facilities to meet the demand for all these amazing athletes.

The demand for Dagmar’s beautiful book, The Art of Old Friends, has been justifiably frenetic. The office has been working hard to get them packaged and sent to all that have placed orders, so if you have not received yours already, know that they are on their way soon. And if you have not ordered a copy yet, call the office today. They will also be on sale in our gift shop.

Green Mask is doing great. The efforts spearheaded by Dr. Bryan Waldridge and Park Equine Hospital in Woodford County has led to a marvelous recovery by this flashy turf sprinter. Special thanks to all who helped, especially Kirsten Johnson at KESMARC, Sallee Vans, the New Bolton Center Veterinary Hospital at Penn, and Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed Green Mask’s surgery.

We expect a huge crowd for our post-Breeders’ Cup Party on Sunday November 4th at the farm. Look for information about tickets on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and on our website. Tickets are on sale now ($30; $15 for 2018 membership holders).

The Breeders’ Cup / Maker’s Mark Champions for Charity is excited to have once again been named the charity beneficiary for the new bottle honoring trainer D. Wayne Lukas. They are available now via the Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity website. CLICK HERE

Once again, thanks to all of you for making Old Friends home to so many deserving athletes.

For more information: (502) 863-1775; www.oldfriendsequine.org; michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Is There a Stereotype for a Horse Racing Bettor?

Betting has now been around longer than anyone could possibly remember. Whether that be betting on sporting events, playing poker, or enjoying blackjack at a casino, people from all walks of life enjoy doing so. Many stereotypes are associated with different types of gambling, such as the belief bingo players are all old women or anyone who plays roulette in a casino is a wannabe James Bond. One of the most popular types of gambling is to bet on horse racing, but why do all different types of people enjoy this and what are the different motivations for wanting to bet on horse racing?

Some of us are just casual bettors and will occasionally place bets on sporting events usually when a big event comes around for example the Grand National or Ascot. These are usually the same bettors who will place a bet on the FA Cup final. These bettors don’t tend to use a strategy and when it comes to horse racing are likely to just bet on a horse because their friend told them to or because they liked the name. Casual bettors might also find themselves enjoying a day at the races and places bets as a part of the experience and to increase their interest in the races.

There is a small percentage that bet on horse racing who are actually professional gamblers and make a living from doing so. They will research and analysis statistics and use this information alongside their own knowledge before placing bets on horse racings. Those that also use betting exchanges to trade on horse racing will also fall into this category and will use deviations and mathematical probability to profit from races.

The bookies’ favourite type of horse racing bettors are known as ‘punters.’ These types of bettors will usually be found in betting shops and will go there on a very regular, sometimes daily basis. They will spend a lot of their income betting, do so with any real strategy and chase the thrill of winning and praise from their fellow punters. Some will even venture into the realms of online horse betting with Betpoint and other popular brands.

There are many other types of horse racing bettors too, such as those who just love the whole thing about gambling and have to very careful in how they spend their budget as well as winnings, all the way to those who are ‘semi-professional’ and bet with a strategy to make a steady income of profit, similar to those who do so full time.

Even though many people may associate different characteristics with those who enjoy betting on horse racing, it is clear that there is no correct stereotype associated with horse racing bettors. There are many different reasons why everyone chooses to bet on horse racing, whether that be a job, the social aspect of it, to try and win big, or because they are interested in stats. What is important is that whatever the reason, it must always be fun and balanced.

Bridget’s Girls vs Frankie’s Boys in ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia

‘Race Night’ at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, is set to wow crowds on Friday 21 December, with an evening of competitive racing action including the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Star jockey, Frankie Dettori, will captain a team of leading male jockeys who will be looking for victory in an unmissable battle of the sexes. Pitched against Dettori’s team will be the racing world’s ‘Girl Power’ – a team of leading female jockeys captained by Bridget Andrews.

The Markel Champions Challenge will see the jockeys switch disciplines for one night only, as they compete in a relay Show Jumping competition. This is the fourth year of the Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia and it has quickly become a highlight of the week.

With a long list of achievements under their belts, both captains have the credentials to lead their teams and take the Markel Champions Challenge title. Dettori recently took centre stage at Royal Ascot, riding three winners to victory on the opening day, adding to his extensive list of over 3,000 winners. Bridget Andrews took her biggest win to date at the Cheltenham Festival in March, aboard Mohaayed in the County Hurdle, cementing her position amongst the best female jockeys in the country.

Bridget Andrews says: ‘I am delighted to be captaining the girls. I’m sure we’ll give Frankie and the boys a real run for their money, and hopefully, come home winners! More importantly, it’s all for a great cause, raising money for the Injured Jockeys Fund.’

The final line-up will be announced in due course as Andrews and Dettori select their teams. Expect to see some of the biggest names in racing as competition gets fierce for the 2018 showdown.

Juliet Redfern, Managing Director of Markel’s Equine and Livestock division, says: ‘Markel is delighted to be continuing our support of this fabulous event which gets more competitive every year between the teams. Having a “Girls vs Boys” theme this year puts a new twist on things and of course I’ll be rooting for the girls. Combining such a popular event in support of such an amazing charity in the Injured Jockey’s Fund – it doesn’t get any better.’

Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund, says: ‘Olympia is becoming one of the highlights of the jockeys’ year and they have so much fun. We can’t thank Markel enough for their continued support of us and the work we do and are looking forward so much to being back at Olympia again.”

‘Race Night’ at Olympia, the UK’s largest indoor Show, will involve an evening of race-themed entertainment. With a full line-up still to be announced, spectators can expect appearances from the legendary Bob Champion. The Bob Champion Cancer Trust is supported by the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, in which crowds can cheer on the mini jockeys and their fierce Shetlands over a mini Grand National course.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

New York Champion Say Florida Sandy Dies at 24

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 13, 2018 – Say Florida Sandy, a multiple graded stakes winner and one of the greatest New York-breds of all time, has died.

The 24-year-old stallion, who was retired with Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, passed from an apparent heart attack on July 11, but a full necropsy is pending.

Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, made the announcement.

Bred by Sanford Bacon, the son of Personal Flag out of the Sweet Candy mare Lolli Lucka Lolli was a star of the New York racing circuit for much of his seven-year career. He won several New York-bred championships, including three New York Champion Sprinter titles and New York Horse of the Year honors for 2001.

Raced by Bacon before being lost for $70,000 in a claiming race in 1997, Sandy had several owners and conditioners, but won the lion’s share of his races for trainer Juan Serey and owner John Rotella.

In all, the dark bay stallion won 17 stakes during his 98-race career, including the Grade 2 True North at Belmont Park, the Grade 3 Gravesend at Aqueduct in 1998 and 2000, and the Grade 3 Philadelphia Breeders’ Cup Handicap. He retired from racing in 2003 with a record of 33 wins and earnings of $2,085,408.

Say Florida Sandy entered stud in 2004 at Buckridge Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. where he stood for 10 years. As a sire he is best represented by stakes winner Say Toba Sandy, who won the Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies Stakes in 2007.

Say Florida Sandy was pensioned by his syndicate and retired to Old Friends in 2014.

“It’s been a privilege to retire one of the top New York-breds of all time,” said Old Friends’s Blowen. “Sandy was a very sensitive stallion, so he was placed at Hurstland Farm in Midway, KY under the watchful eye of owner Alfred Nuckols, who took the greatest care of him,” Blowen added.

“We are grateful to breeder Sanford Bacon and to Walter Downey, who managed Sandy’s syndicate, for allowing us to care for their champion.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Eye of the Tiger to Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 5, 2018 – Grade 2 winner Eye of the Tiger has been pensioned to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, made the announcement.

Fifth in the 2003 Kentucky Derby behind winner Funny Cide, and winner of both the Affirmed and Washington Park Handicaps, Eye of the Tiger was retired from racing in 2006 with five wins from 19 starts and earnings of $535,679 for breeder/owner John D. Gunther.

He has stood at Gunther’s Glennwood Farm near Versailles, KY — which also bred newly minted Triple Crown winner Justify — since then, but was pensioned from stud duty in 2016. The now 18-year-old stallion arrived at Old Friends on June 27.

“Eye of the Tiger he has been a long-time member of our horse family,” said Glennwood’s Tanya Gunther. “He deserves the serenity that this home will provide him, which was a challenge to do at our small farm with the constant hustle and bustle of mares, foals, and yearlings.

“To know he will join the company of Classic horses such as War Emblem, Silver Charm, and Touch Gold makes me very pleased,” Gunther added. “Imagine the stories they will share. A big thank you to Old Friends, and we look forward to visiting him very soon.”

“We’re so very thrilled to welcome Eye of the Tiger,” said Old Friends’s Blowen. “We can’t thank the Gunthers enough for trusting us with his care. This is a beautiful stallion with a great story to tell, and I’m sure he will be a big fan favorite.”

Old Friends offers guided walking tours of the farm daily at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Fans can visit with Eye of the Tiger and other well-known champions of the turf, including Kentucky Derby/Preakness winners Silver Charm and War Emblem.

For information and reservations, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

What Causes Racehorse Lungs to Bleed?

Photo: Gun Runner. Keith Luke @lukephotography.

Ever heard of a horse that collapsed after a thirty-minute race? Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage could be one of the reasons behind such a tragedy. EIPH is common in most racehorses and those used in equine sports like barrel racing or polo. The term EIPH is a term for an equine who experiences blood moving into the lungs and airways during an extended period of exertion like racing.

Types of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage

EIPH is divided into two categories, mainly bleeding from the nose and bleeding from the lungs. The bleeding from the nose involves blood vessels in the nasal airways. Approximately 5% of horses experience this type of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.  Bleeding from the lungs occurs when blood flows from the capillaries in the lungs. You might notice blood coming from the nostrils when your horse has this type of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. Estimates indicate that bleeding from the lungs affects over 70% of racehorses.

Causes of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage in Horses

Although there is no definitive cause for pulmonary hemorrhage condition, experts believe that specific processes inside the lungs could be the reason for the bleeding. For the horse to get maximum strength and endurance for a race, it requires an increase in blood volume and in the pumping function of the heart. The increased pumping creates pressure within the blood vessels, which in turn raises the horse’s blood pressure. There’s an assumption that the extra pressure could cause the capillaries to burst, allowing hemorrhages to get into the air sacs, which gets into the airways, and further into nasal passages. All these responses are due to the circularity response of the stress exerted during extreme exercise.

Treatment of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage in Horses

Reducing the recurrent episodes is the best way to treat exercise-induced hemorrhage in horses. The more times the bleeding occurs, the higher the chances of scarring which could interfere with the horse’s productivity and performance. A qualified vet may give Lasix, which is a diuretic used before a race, which helps to lower the blood pressure. You might need to allow plenty of rest for your horse and avoid keeping the horse in a stall for many days.

While there isn’t a single treatment for exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, it’s a condition that can be managed. Speak to an experienced vet to find out what other measures could help reduce these recurrences.

What are the Symptoms of EIPH in Horses?

Your horse may exhibit certain symptoms if he has exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. The symptoms may be auditory and visual. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include weird choking sounds after exercising for long periods, mucous tinged with blood, abnormal breathing noises like whistling or roaring, the flow of blood from one or both nostrils, and recurrent swallowing within 30 minutes after finishing a race. You’ll also notice how uneasy and distressed the horse looks.  Also, you might notice some other things that could indicate the presence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. You’ll notice that the horse may fall back and may not be able to sustain higher speeds like before. Furthermore, you may notice a hesitation to engage in regular activities. During this time, the horse will display extreme exertion, and you may notice unusual stride rhythms.

How New Technology Is Making an Impact in the Equine World

There is no aspect of our lives that is not being affected and influenced by technology. Whether we are looking at smartphones, driverless cars, or cryptocurrencies, advances in technology are everywhere. This is especially the case of even when looking at the horse racing industry and the equine world as a whole. We have found some very interesting and, frankly, fascinating developments which will blow your mind.

Robots

We now have robots that are capable of safely lifting a horse by controlling weight distribution, which reduces the chance of life threatening injuries. The University of Saskatchewan and RMD Engineering have designed an equine lift that demonstrates this.

Robots are also helping with equine medicine and CT scans. Scanning an animal as large as a horse is seen is very challenging, especially when the horse has an injury and is distressed. Robotic devices, such as the one created by 4DDI Equine, manoeuvre around the horse and don’t require the horse be sedated.

Sensors

Wearable sensor technology is widely available for horses. This is having a great impact on the industry in assessing health and performance.

Seaver is a wearable girth capable of measuring the heart and breathing rate and can determine the horse’s movement when jumping to measure vertical and horizontal aspects. Riders are able to access this information immediately on the smart phone app.

Another type of sensor technology is the smart saddle by Voltaire. The Blue Wing saddle contains a chip that collects information on the horse such as the number of jumps, time spent in each gait and quality of the horse’s symmetry. Like the girth, this information is easily accessible by the rider and can be used to assess performance.

3D Printing

CSIRO in Australia has developed 3D printing for horseshoes. Imaging software analyses the hoof and prints shoes that are the safest most viable fit for the horse. 3D printing can also be used for horses with injuries. Horses are often put down when they break a bone; however, prosthetics, casts, and splints can be printed for the ones with injuries. Hopefully in the future, veterinarians will simply print off a component within minutes that will help an injured horse, allowing them to trial a number of potential solutions without the need for the horse to be put down.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence automatically gathers data from sensors and other collection devices and interprets it to help make decisions. The automated process means a lot of mistakes are eliminated that could occur with humans.

Equimetre can be worn on the girth, measure the heart rate and breathing, but also collect data on the temperature, humidity, and conditions of the track. These data provide analysis that helps trainers determine what will best suit the horse. Combining this with machine vision technology, we could soon see insights into the management and routine of horses on a daily basis. This allows better, more accurate training and would be excellent for monitoring health.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality allows anybody wanting to work with horses to experience this without any complications and risks. Difficult surgery can be practiced in a classroom, allowing students and teachers to build up experience before doing this for real. Technology has also been developed to re-create the experience of a beginner riding a horse for the first time. Whilst rather expensive, it can help the industry become more ergonomic going forward. We all are aware that Virtual Reality is already being employed in the gaming world; however, it also has the potential to be used in other markets like horse race betting. There may come a time when progressive bookmakers such as Unibet will be offering their members the chance to bet and experience the thrill of the race via Virtual Reality, which would definitely heighten the entire experience.

Mike Smith and Justify Carry American Equus to Flawless Triple Crown Victory

Mike Smith piloting Justify to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. Photo: Adam Coglianese.

Gilbert, AZ – June 14, 2018 – American Equus rode into history with longtime sponsored rider Mike Smith as he and Justify swept the 150th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, making them only the 13th horse and rider pair to win the coveted Triple Crown. A crowd of 90,000 cheering fans, as well as millions of television viewers hoping to see a repeat of American Pharaoh’s historic 2015, went wild as the pair broke from the gate and led the entire field around the historic Belmont Park. American Equus is proud to have carried Smith on his journey with Justify to win the triple crown and solidify his place in horse racing history.

“If you had asked me two years ago, when I founded American Equus, if we would have not only won the richest single race in horseracing, but also the Triple Crown, I would have said ‘absolutely not’,” commented David Shano, Founder of American Equus. “Working with Mike [Smith] has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. American Equus is honored by his support of company, unwavering belief in our irons, and to have helped him effectively ride this incredible horse to the biggest victory in his incredible career.”

From his very first race, Justify has been nothing short of incredible. The chestnut stallion, owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, and SF Racing, and trained by Bob Baffert, completed the mile and a half on a fast track in 2 minutes 28.18 seconds and became the second undefeated Triple Crown winner, since with Seattle Slew in 1977. Justify has handily won six straight G1 races since beginning his competitive career only four months ago.

“The Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes were certainly less than ideal conditions to race in,” said Smith. “In the Preakness especially, Justify jumped the tracks a couple of times and my foot never slipped. The American Equus irons keep my ride smooth and solid and almost like I am standing on the ground. They definitely make all the difference.”

“Big Money Mike” Smith is considered one of the most successful and influential riders in the sport, with over 5,300 victories and total purse earnings topping $312,243,585. He has held a place in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame since 2003 and has secured wins in two Derby’s, two Preakness’s, two Belmont’s and a record 26-Breeders’ Cup races, as well as the Pegasus Cup, and Dubai World Cup.  At an unbelievable 52 years old, Smith now has the distinction of becoming the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

“American Equus is looking forward to many more races with Mike and continuing our relationship of success for many years to come. For as long as Mike wants to race, American Equus will be there to make sure he is as safe and competitive as possible,” commented Shano.

Media Contact: Lenore Phillips
561-753-3389 | lrb@phelpsmediagroup.com