Silver Charm in retirement at Old Friends (Photo: Rick Capone)
GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 26, 2018 – On Saturday May 5, the Florida Thoroughbred Owners’ and Breeders’ Association will present the inaugural “$100,000 FTOBA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes” at Tampa Bay Downs.
The race will celebrate the 1997 Kentucky Derby/Preakness champion and Hall of Fame inductee (2007).
Silver Charm, 24, was returned to the United States from stud duty in Japan in 2014 and is now pensioned at Old Friends, the non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement facility base in Georgetown, KY.
The $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Stakes, for three-year-old colts and geldings, will be run on the main track at a distance of a mile and 40 yards. The race is a “Win & You’re In” opportunity, with the victor earning retirement at Old Friends when his racing career is over.
The Silver Charm Stakes is the third of a four-part “Florida Sire Stakes” series offered by Tampa Bay Downs and the FTBOA that launched in December 2017. The events will offer $450,000 in purse money to FTBOA-registered Florida-bred horses sired by FTBOA-registered stallions that are Florida Sire Stakes-eligible.
“Silver Charm is a legendary Florida-bred, and naming a prestigious race in his honor was important to do,” said Lonny Powell, FTBOA CEO. “Silver Charm represents one of the 52 Florida-breds who have been honored as national champions. The well-traveled horse has a dedicated fan base worldwide that continues to grow as the next generation is introduced to him,” added Powell. “FTBOA thanks Old Friends for being a part of this special historic day.”
As part of the celebration, the FTBOA Museum and Gallery, located at 801 SW 60th Avenue in Ocala, FL, will honor Silver Charm with an art exhibition that opens Friday, May 4 at 2:30 p.m. The exhibit will run through the end of May.
In addition, Old Friends will feature race handicapping from Silver Charm himself along all of their social media platforms on Friday May 4 and Saturday May 5, and on race day, a representative from the farm will present the owners of all of the entries with a special gift bag.
Bred in Florida by Mary Lou Wootton, Silver Charm (Silver Buck – Bonnie’s Poker, by Poker), is considered one of the best horses of his generation. Campaigned by Robert and Beverly Lewis and trained by Bob Baffert, Silver Charm broke his maiden as a 2-year-old and captured his first stakes a few weeks later in the GR2 Del Mar Futurity.
Silver Charm captured the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was poised to become the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner, but he was beat at the wire by Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes.
As a 4-year-old Silver Charm added the GR2 San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes and the GR2 Strub Stakes to his resume before winning the 1998 Dubai World Cup. The stallion retired from racing in 1999 after 24 lifetime starts and12 wins, with career earnings of over $6.9 million.
Silver Charm was sold to Japan in 2004, but was returned to the U.S. by his owners, the Lewis Family, and Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.
Old Friends is a non-profit organization that cares for more than 175 horses whose racing and/or breeding careers came to an end. The farm is open to the public daily, offering guided tours to meet such stars of the turf as Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner War Emblem, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, and three-time Santa Anita Handicap star Game On Dude.
As one of the most famous retirees at Old Friends, Silver Charm, has become a significant ambassador for horse racing, meeting and greeting fans daily who are thrilled to re-live his exciting Triple Crown campaign.
“No horse deserves to be honored with an eponymous stakes more than Silver Charm,” said Old Friends President and founder Michael Blowen. “There is no doubt he has brought great credence and great pride to the Florida breeding program, and there is no question that he’s an exceptional champion that has given so much to the sport — even in retirement,” he added. “We are very grateful to the FTBOA and Tampa Bay Downs for this tribute.”
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 175 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 www.oldfriendsequine.org.