Tag Archives: horse racing

Grade 1 Winner Wake Forest and New York Champ Kharafa Retire to Old Friends

Wake Forest checks out his new digs (Old Friends Farm Photos)

GEORGETOWN, KY – DECEMBER 3, 2018 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, announced the arrival of two new notable retirees: Grade 1 winner Wake Forest and stakes winner Kharafa.

Wake Forest was a Group 3 winner in Germany before relocating to trainer Chad Brown’s barn in 2015 for owners Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin and his Sheep Pond Partners, and Bethlehem Stables. In his third North American start, Wake Forest captured the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes and went on to win the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes in 2017.

This past July, the bay son of Sir Percy (GB) went on the block at Fasig-Tipton where he sold for $90,000. Under new ownership he began dropping down the claiming ranks. On November 24th at Gulfstream Park West he ran for a tag of $8,000 and finished ninth of 11 starters.

It was to be his final start, as former owner Dubb stepped up to claim the 8-year-old horse for retirement.  After 28 starts and eight wins, Wake Forest completed his career with earnings of $951,745.

Trained by Timothy Hill for owners Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch, New York-bred warrior Kharafa finished out his career after 52 starts in eight seasons.  A star of the NYRA circuit, Kharafa captured multiple runnings of the Ashley T. Cole Stakes and the Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park, as well as Aqueduct’s Three Coins Up Stakes.

This August, the 9-year-old was the unexpected star of Saratoga’s New York Showcase Day after capturing the $150,000 West Point Stakes to the delight of his fans.  The win brought Kharafa’s career earnings to $1,238. 622.

Since 2013, Kharafa had become a huge fan favorite thanks to a sensational rivalry with fellow state-bred turfers Lubash and King Kreesa. As fate would have it, all three are now retired at Old Friends in Georgetown.

“It’s a banner day here,” said Old Friends founder Michael Blowen. “Wake Forest is the sweetest most beautiful horse, and it’s such a thrill to reunite Kharafa with his famous rivals. We hope all their fans will come to visit them,” Blowen added. “We are so thankful to their respective connections for trusting us with these two beloved champs.”

For more information, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

Remembering Panimetro

From 2008 to 2010, I owned an ex-racehorse, Panimetro (1999-2010), a Thoroughbred rescue from the Virgin Islands. He was cared for by VICCTRE (Virgin Islands Community Cooperative Thoroughbred Retirement Effort) until he was adoptable. He was a multiple graded stakes winner with career earnings from 2001-2005 of $300,500.  We assembled a list for all your information about horse racing betting from bookmakers to racetracks to help in choosing whether you want to head over to the racetrack and place your bets, or go online and make a horse racing wager from home.

During “Metro’s” last race, he had a horrible accident where he suffered four major fractures in his left front ankle, an injury similar to the one suffered by the famous racehorse, Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner that was euthanized due to complications in the healing of his leg.

“Metro” could have met the same sad fate but he was able to heal himself by lying down for long periods over a year and a half and allowing VICCTRE caretakers to attend to him. He loved the attention. The fetlock had a lot of calcification, but it healed enough for him to be a regular horse for a while.

Metro was on the cover, and the inside, and as the December horse on the 2009 VICCTRE calendar. You’ll see him running around still like a racehorse, even with his injured left front leg.

Metro came to the equine rescue organization, Habitat for Horses, in March of 2009 when he was brought here from the Virgin Islands. He was such a character and loved people! He was able to run around, buck and play and jump over a water puddle in front of his paddock that filled up when it rains a lot.

He had a wonderful stall with a ceiling fan and open access to paddocks that opened into his own pasture. It was so cool to see him run in from the pasture for his dinner. Metro was such a gentleman and was trained well at the track to stand quietly for the farrier and when being washed. He got fed 3 times a day plus a lot of loving and TLC, so he was in horse heaven. He even “learned to use the bathroom” in the paddock instead of in his stall.

He was a wonderful companion-horse to my mare, Rocki. Early on he and Rocki were turned out together, but it proved to be too much for Metro. He wanted to run and play too much so I closed him in the back pasture and my mare in the front pasture. But of course, they played with each other over the tall fence between their stalls.

Sadly, Metro passed in the Fall of 2011. His leg finally gave away. He is buried in my back pasture. I cried so much over this – I had never had my own horse euthanized before.

Cheltenham Festival Tips and Predictions

Even if you’re not entirely invested in betting on horse racing, the opportunity to bet on some of the bigger race meetings is something that a lot of people will take an interest in. This is an occurrence that’s been proven through the sudden interest that vast numbers of people take in the Aintree Grand National when it arises, where it seems like everyone across the UK will place their bets on a horse to win or finish each-way.

In terms of festivals, Cheltenham Festival is likely to be the only horse racing event where everyone remains engrossed from start to finish. If you’re yet to try your hand at backing your own Cheltenham Festival tips, it’s not something that you should completely rule out, as it’s certainly worth considering due to the fun that can be had from horse racing betting when it’s done responsibly.

Whether you’re a regular punter with an eye for winning horse tips, or if you like the thought of having a go and seeing what all the fuss is about, we’ve considered the factors that make betting on Cheltenham Festival tips so worthwhile:

More than one hotly-contested race meeting

Although the Cheltenham Gold Cup is undoubtedly the biggest race at Cheltenham Festival, there’s more races to indulge in, with it being one of the only festivals where it’s not primarily focused on one race ahead of all others. This is very different to Aintree Festival, where everything hinges on the massively popular Grand National.

Bookmaker odds available months in advance

If you’re interested in betting on The Festival to such a point that you want to lock in your bets as soon as possible, you’ll be able to do this on most bookmaker websites and apps months before all horses are even confirmed to race. By doing this, experienced punters are able to get the best available price before anything changes, but it’s unlikely that any newcomers to betting on horse racing will be quite so keen.

Plenty of places to pick up a tip and back your bets

Building your own Cheltenham Festival tips is possible through the many websites that provide all of the statistics and form necessary prior to placing your bets. While it’s to be expected that you might have a go at making your own bets, there are other means of finding a Cheltenham bet, including on the many horse tipster websites on the internet. The same can be said for backing your bets, where bookmaker websites and apps come in high numbers to accommodate you in choosing the one that best suits your needs.

Shetland Pony Grand National Returns to Olympia, The London International Horse Show

From 17-23 December 2018, Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will welcome the return of the much-loved Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, a fast and furious race showcasing some of the UK’s young, talented, and up-and-coming jockeys.

This year’s line-up features some of the brightest young names in horse racing, including Olive Nicholls, daughter of 10-time British National Hunt Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, who no doubt will be giving Olive a tip or two in her preparations for Olympia. Nicholls will compete against Alice Crowley, daughter of 2016 British Flat Racing Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley. The pair has the equestrian genes to contend, but how will they fare in Olympia’s Grand Hall?

Entrants are required to be aged 8-14 and must be under five feet tall. Riders race around a track, jumping obstacles mimicking those at the Aintree Grand National, only in miniature form. The event is the pinnacle of the Shetland Pony Grand National calendar and is set to attract hordes of spectators from the 90,000 attendees, who are due to visit Olympia over its seven days of competition.

Although undoubtedly a fun-filled event, there is also a real spirit of competitiveness among the riders. Many of them are aiming to emulate past competitors, who have graduated from the Shetland Pony Grand National to become professional equestrians, including Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Garner, who are now established names on the racing circuit.

Following in the footsteps of the Twiston-Davies brothers, Gloucestershire has another Shetland Pony Grand National competitor tipped for the top: nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, whose father, Timmy Murphy, has ridden over 1,000 winners in the professional jump racing world. Joining Murphy and his pony Shelcroft Buttercup will be Lucy Aspell, daughter of back-to-back Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell. Aspell will be returning for her second successive year at Olympia and is likely to pull out all the stops to go the distance.

All proceeds from the Shetland Pony Grand National will go to the nominated charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Founded in 1983, the charity has raised an incredible £16 million for cancer research and will be the direct beneficiary of the money raised by the young jockeys, who last year managed to raise a terrific £42,500.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gtelford@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Breeders’ Cup Event and Little DEVIL Charm

It’s all treats at Old Friends… even on Halloween. Recently, we’ve been treated to a great ride on Next Shares who flew to victory in the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs. In the winner’s circle, trainer Richard Baltus explained that one reason he brought his five-year-old gelding from his home ground at Santa Anita and Del Mar to Franklin, Kentucky was because the winner was assured a lifetime retirement at Old Friends at the appropriate time. Baltus explained that being in the winner’s circle with Next Shares was one of the great thrills of his life. And the best was yet to come. Last Saturday, Next Shares was ignored by the betting public in the $1,000,000 G1 Shadwell Turf mile and roared home to victory, astonishing everyone, even Baltus. Since that was a win-and-you’re-in race, he’s now headed for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic. We’ll welcome him to Old Friends when the time comes but, in the meantime, we’ll be rooting him home. Old Friends Karma.

Breeders’ Cup Celebration at Old Friends
Sponsored by Red Brand Fence
Sunday, November 4, 12:00 – 4:00pm

Come the Celebrate Breeders’ Cup. Join us for a party at the farm and a tribute to the 20 year anniversary of Old Friends retiree Gulch’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Live & Silent auctions of racing memorabilia, equine art, collectible stallion halters, and more. Live music, Proud Mary BBQ, farms tours.

Admission is $30; 2018 Membership holders $15; kids under 12 free.

Special $10 discount to Equestricon convention attendees with proof of attendance. Please note Kentucky sales tax is now collected on our tickets and auction items due to a new law enacted in July.

Click here for tickets or call us at 502-863-1775.

Little DEVIL Charm Shirts

Grab ’em QUICK as time is running out. Tees, Long Sleeve Tees, and even Hoodies.  Click here to order.

For more information, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

2018 British Champions Series and the Breeders’ Cup

The 2018 British Champions Series is a series of 35 of the UK’s top flat races. It began with the 2,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on May 5th, and culminates with British Champions Day at Ascot on October 20th, where thousands of punters at courses across the country will be primed to take a bet on this horse race.

British Champions Day is a thoroughbred horse race which has been held at Ascot Racecourse in October annually since 2011, acting as the end of season show piece of British flat racing. The culmination of the British Champions Series, it features the finals of the five divisions of the series, together with a valuable one-mile handicap race. The richest day in British racing; more than £4 million in prize money was earned across the six races in 2016.

Beginning in 2007, the Breeders’ Cup, this year to be held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, developed the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of races in each division that allotted automatic qualifying bids to winners of defined races. Each of the 13 divisions has between two and 12 of these “Win and You’re In” qualifying races. In the Breeders’ Cup Turf Division, runners are limited to 14 with up to 11 automatic berths.

Starting in 2011, the Breeders’ Cup also pays the entry fee and provides a travel allowance for the connections of the challenge race winners. For 2018, NBC Sports Group will both broadcast and live stream 11 shows, from June to October, covering many of the “Win and You’re In” challenge races.

Cheltenham Festival: No Horsing Around

If ever in doubt about the popularity of horse racing and the excitement it evokes in enthusiasts, bookmakers, and pundits, it is important to note that even with six months to go for the Cheltenham Festival, punters are already analysing horses and jockeys, looking for the next big bet.

March 12th will see the commencement of the four-day festival that is considered one of the top racing events in the entire world. Cheltenham Festival, in comparison with the Grand National, is more local with few international entries. It also has more hurdle races unlike the flat tracks of other competitions. These differences make Cheltenham a lot more challenging and thrilling for jockeys as well as bettors who have more than 25 races to place bets on, increasing their chances of winning.

Altior

Punters are eagerly awaiting March 13, 2019 to see Altior in action at the Cheltenham Festival. With odds of 6/4, he is already a favourite among bookmakers to win the all-important Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior dominated the Champion Chase during the festival in 2018 coming in first and had won the Arkle Chase year before that. With speed and stamina both evident in every stride, punters need to keep a keen eye on this one as he is bound to perform spectacularly in 2019 as well.

Samcro

Samcro has been one of the most debated horses in the competition. Whether he will run in the Gold Cup or should he wait out another year, everyone associated with horse racing has been discussing his future and second-guessing decisions taken by the owners. Nevertheless, he remains a favourite when it comes to the Arkle Trophy with 5/1 odds and the RSA Chase with 8/1 odds, both of which are undoubtedly favourites when it comes to betting. Trained by the legendary Gordon Elliott, Samcro won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles in 2018 in a remarkable manner, making him the one to look out for.

Midnight Bite

The “big one” at the Cheltenham Festival is the Gold Cup. A dream win for every jockey, trainer, and horse, it is hotly contested, on the field and in the stands. For a punter too, this is the ultimate race to partake in at the festival and Cheltenham betting offers for 2019 are already looking positive with options that can add to the winnings. The nine-year-old Midnight Bite is presently the favourite with 5/1 odds having come in second at last year’s Gold Cup. He is followed closely by Presenting Percy, another horse that has proven its popularity, and Native River, both of whom are listed at 6/1 odds.

Commander of Fleet

Not ignoring some of the other races that are part of this institutional festival, Commander of Fleet is among bookmakers’ choice for winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 16/1 odds and also the Champion Bumper with 25/1 odds. The “smaller” races are an excellent opportunity for bettors to further their winnings and with limited horses running, they require less analysis, which is a big bonus. But, do keep in mind that Cheltenham is an experience that not only consists of racing but also dance, music, food, and even shopping, so make sure you enjoy every aspect of this great festival.

Game Winner on Course for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Success?

Source: HR_Nation via Twitter.

Game Winner is the horse to watch at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, heading into the showdown at the beginning of November with a 100% record in his three races. Bob Baffert has a potential star in the two-year-old, with the veteran trainer aiming to secure his first win at the event since 2013.

The American horse does have the strongest credentials entering the meet, although, with only three races under his belt, it’s difficult to predict the outcome at the Churchill Downs. Both Endorsed and Mind Control will be out to dethrone the leading contender for the crown. Therefore, while he may look one of the best horse racing bets with odds of 7/4 at William Hill, it may be worth waiting before committing to a punt on the race, given there is ample time for the prices to alter before the fences are opened.

Game Winner only took to the track for his first race during August in the Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar. He was not considered the favourite for his debut as Dueling was present in the field. However, Baffert’s charge quickly made a statement in his bow over six furlongs, dominating the meet to win by five-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Dueling. The two-year-old’s display did not earn him the respect of the bookmakers for his next outing in a Grade One meet at Del Mar.

His stable-mate Roadster was the leading contender for the Del Mar Futurity, but Game Winner was able to brush aside him, along with the rest of the field, to claim his second career victory by one-and-a-half lengths. Baffert put his charge forward for the American Pharoah Stakes in his first race over a mile at Santa Anita. With Joel Rosario in the saddle, the bay colt was able to clinch his first major triumph, defeating his nearest rival, Gunmetal Grey, by four-and-a-half lengths. Game Winner has improved at every race, although bigger challenges lay ahead for the two-year-old.

Mind Control made his debut in July at a Maiden Special Weight at Delaware Park. He was off the pace in his first outing, finishing behind Call Paul at Delaware Park. However, the two-year-old was able to bounce back in his second meet – this time competing at Monmouth Park.

Gregory Sacco’s charge controlled the race and was able to secure the victory by a comfortable margin to get off the mark in his career over six furlongs. Mind Control faced his first major test at the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. He was not considered the favourite for the event but produced a brilliant effort to defeat the perceived leading contender, Mucho, displaying the pace down the stretch to claim the win by three-quarters of a length.

Sacco’s charge along with Endorsed will be the challengers to Game Winner. Endorsed has only competed once in his career, which came in August at Saratoga in a Maiden Special Weight. He produced an accomplished display to defeat Ahead Of Plan by a neck, setting up a potential challenge for Game Winner along with Mind Control at the Churchill Downs at the beginning of November.

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