First “Old Friends Stakes” to Take Place at Kentucky Downs, Sept. 16

Three-time Santa Anita Handicap Winner Game On Dude, now retired at Old Friends (Photo by Rick Capone)

GEORGETOWN, KY – September 1, 2015 – The inaugural running of the $150,000 Old Friends Stakes will take place on Wednesday Sept. 16, 2015 at Kentucky Downs, the historic oval located in Franklin, KY.

Sponsored by Tribute® Equine Nutrition, the race will honor Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, that cares for more than 150 former racehorses.

Old Friends recently entered into a joint venture with Kentucky Downs, which now features five retired Thoroughbreds in its “Old Friends Exhibit” located on its grounds.

The $150,000 stakes (which includes $75,000 from Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund) is for three-year-olds and up, and is contested over one mile and 70 years on the turf. Nominations close September 5 and entries taken Sept. 13.

For this special event Kentucky Downs is offering a special seating option: an enclosed Old Friends tent In the Kentucky Downs Turf Club venue that will feature premier views of the races and be equipped with wagering windows, dining tables and include a buffet lunch. Admission will also include a special tour of the Old Friends live-horse exhibit hosted by Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the non-profit organization.

Tickets to the Old Friends tent are $50 and can be reserved in advance by calling (270) 586-7094 or by visiting Tickets will also be available at the door.

In addition to the Old Friends Stakes, every race on the card will be dedicated to a horse pensioned at the non-profit organization. Sponsorships to the races are available and interested parties can contact Old Friends’s Blowen for information at (502) 863-1775.

Currently, The Game On Dude is sponsored by Red Brand Horse Fence and the Williamstown is sponsored by Peter W. Willmott, who campaigned the graded-stakes winning son of Seattle Slew.

“This is such a milestone for the organization,” said Old Friends’s Blowen. “This represents enormous recognition from the racing industry, and I can’t think of a better way to honor our horses, so many of whom were stakes winners.

“Our thanks goes out to Kentucky Downs for all that they’ve done to support Old Friends and to Tribute® for their generous sponsorship of this race,” Blowen added. “I hope everyone will come out and spend the day with us.”

Tribute® is the official feed supplier of Old Friends.

“We are so proud to be providing great nutrition to these retired champions,” said Larry Belluscio, Tributes’s Director of Equine Business. “Quality nutrition is what we are all about and these horses give us so much so we need to be sure to give them something back,” Belluscio added. “We are honored to be associated with Old Friends.”

“We truly value this partnership,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “We expect this stakes to have more nominations than any in Kentucky Downs history, so I am sure it will be a great race for an even greater cause.”

Located at 5629 Nashville Road in Franklin, KY 42135, Kentucky Downs’s five-day, live race meet begins Sept. 5, with full cards set for Sept. 10, 12, 16 and 19. Gates open at 10 a.m. on race days and parking is free.

Old Friends farm in Georgetown is home to over 100 of the organization’s 154 retirees, and star attractions include Hall of Fame Champion and 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, Breeders’ Cup Champions Gulch and Amazombie and 2002 Belmont stakes winner Sarava.

About Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs is located in Franklin, KY. The track conducts a live turf racing meet each September on the only “European-style” race course in North America. The meet is staged in an informal festival setting and features the annual running of the Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup. Additionally, Kentucky Downs offers year-round simulcasting and an expanded Gaming Floor that now offers 390 Historical Horse Racing games. Kentucky Downs also serves as the site for numerous entertainment events in Franklin and Simpson County. For visitor information, call (270) 586-7778 or see their website at

About Tribute

Tribute® Equine Nutrition was designed and approved by Ph.D. Equine nutritionists with decades of experience and knowledge developing state-of-the-art, innovative equine diets. Its fixed formula products are based on the latest research and are manufactured under strict quality control standards. Tribute offers competitively priced products designed specifically for all horses, whether a backyard friend, broodmare, stallion, young and growing or performance horse, from show ring to elite race horse.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 110 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322,; Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775,; Rick Albright, (270) 776-3447,

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