Tag Archives: horse racing

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

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