Tag Archives: Old Friends

Patch, 2017 Kentucky Derby Contender, Arrives at Old Friends

Patch with assistant farm manager Antonio Marin.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 20, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, welcomed 2017 Kentucky Derby contender and graded-stakes-placed Patch.

The son of Union Rags out of the A. P. Indy mare Windyindy, Patch was donated to the non-profit organization by owner Calumet Farm following his three-season racing career. His last start was in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga this past August.

A 30-1 long shot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Patch became the season’s feel-good story after it was revealed that he had lost his left eye as a two-year-old but overcame his adversity to make it to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Patch eventually finished 14th in that race behind winner Always Dreaming.

“Patch is a great horse and he has a great story,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He is beloved by fans, and we are so looking forward to welcoming them this year. Patch has already stolen the hearts of everyone at Park Equine, where he spent a week while we made paddock space available, and everyone here is really excited about him.

“Our gratitude goes out to Calumet for entrusting us with Patch,” Blowen added, “as well as to Park Equine, and to the people at Sallee Horse Vans for transportation.”

Old Friends is planning a “Welcome Home Patch” day at the farm sometime in the near future. Announcements will be made soon with date, time, and details.

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

Grade 1 Winner Next Question Euthanized

Next Question, known as Q, at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in New York.

GREENFIELD CENTER, NY – JANUARY 17, 2020 – Grade I winner Next Question was euthanized on January 16 at Old Friends at Cabin Creek due to complications from a paddock accident. He was 12.

Based in Greenfield Center, NY, Cabin Creek is an official satellite facility of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY.

Affectionately known as Q, Next Question (Stormy Atlantic-Seattle Stardust, by Slew City Slew) initially retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in 2014, where he lived for one year before returning to his owners, Three Diamonds Farm, for a second career. He returned to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in November of 2019.

Racing for Three Diamonds Farm and trainer Michael Trombetta, Next Question’s greatest accomplishment came in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack, where he upset the field at 16-1. Other accolades include a placing in the 2013 Around the Cape Stakes at Belmont Park, and participation in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park.

In 2013, his career ended with three wins, one 2nd, and two 3rd’s from 13 starts, and earnings of $424,391. He was bred in New York by Dr. Lance G. Bell.

“Q was a kind, sweet horse who was well loved by everyone who cared for him throughout his life,” said Old Friends at Cabin Creek owner and manager JoAnn Pepper. “We are heartbroken to carry on without him, and grateful to Three Diamonds Farm for allowing us to have this time with Q.”

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

Cajun Beat, 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion, Dies at 20

Cajun Beat at Old Friends in Georgetown (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 17, 2020 – Cajun Beat, the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion, has died.

The 20-year-old son of Grand Slam had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, since 2016. Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen made the announcement of his passing this morning.

Details of Cajun Beat’s death are pending following a full necropsy.

Co-owned by Padua Stables and John and Joseph Iracane, Cajun Beat proved himself a consistent winner in his three seasons on the track. He broke his maiden at Calder in only his second start as a two-year-old, and captured his first stakes early in his three-year-old year, winning the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream. He followed that with a win in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway.

A month later Cajun Beat entered the starting gate for the 2003 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita at odds of nearly 23-1, but just over a minute later he put himself, trainer Steve Margolis, and jockey Cornelio Velasquez in the limelight by cruising to a 2¼ length victory.

His time of 1:07.95 was, at the time, the third fastest ever in the Sprint.

The following year Cajun Beat earned two more graded wins — including a victory on the grass in the Hollywood Turf Express at Hollywood Park for new trainer Bobby Frankel — before retiring in 2005 with Padua Stables.

He joined Old Friends in 2016 along with his closest friend, Padua’s Pride.

“He was a lovely horse, a real champion,” said Satish Sanan of Padua Stables. “With all of the horses we’ve had, he was one of our favorites — he was my wife’s favorite. He didn’t show much talent until we gelded him, and then he became a hell of a sprinter. He gave us a lot of thrills. We were very grateful to Old Friends for taking he and Padua.”

“Cajun Beat was as sweet as he was speedy,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “Yesterday, after his unexpected death, his long-time pal, Padua’s Pride, stood over the body, nudging him, as if he was trying to get him up. All of this with the setting sun in the background. He earned every bit of it… to die with the dignity that the rest of us can only hope for.”

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

Hats Off to the Horses 2020

The “Einstein” modeled by Dagmar Steiner (Photo by Laura Battles)

The “Einstein” is the latest design on the block in the Old Friends 11th Annual “Hats Off to the Horses” auction

The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction kicks off with a beautiful Derby-style chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the 11th consecutive year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off four handcrafted Derby hats between January and April, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s 200-plus retired racehorses. To date this online fundraiser has garnered over $37,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by the multiple graded stakes winner Einstein and it is showcased here by equine artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner.

The hat will be up for bid for 10 days only from 8 pm (EST) January 1st through 8 pm (EST) on January 11th. Interested bidders can go to the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and follow the link, or CLICK HERE to visit our eBay page.

To read more and to view additional images of the hat, CLICK HERE.

About the Horse

Einstein is the Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Horse of the Year Spend a Buck. Throughout his career he accomplished what few racehorses have done. He earned graded stakes victories on three different track surfaces: the Turf Classic (on turf), the Clark Handicap (on dirt), and the Santa Anita Handicap (on synthetic). Other races Einstein called his own include the 2006 and the 2008 Gulfstream Turf Handicap, the 2007 Mervin H Muniz Jr Memorial Handicap, and dual runnings of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 2008 and 2009. In all, he finished his career with wins in 11 of his 27 starts — five of them Grade 1 stakes — and earnings of $2.7 million.

About the Hat

The distinctive red, black, and gold silks of owner Frank Stronach’s Racing Stables provided the hues for this stunning Derby hat. A foundation was created using a base layer of red dupioni silk overlaid with a swirling black scroll lace. A red silk under brim creates a bold, elegant effect when the wearer’s face is upturned, while the edge of the brim is trimmed with a double layer of black silk organza ruffles, which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric.

To further showcase Stronach’s stable colors, a red silk-organza Marguerite fleur with a red dupioni rose curl center adorns the front of the hat, while a black button with gold edging provides an accent in the back. For a final touch, black silk organza leaves and three black silk organza “feathers” were added to reflect Einstein’s dark bay coloring.

As always, several strands of the horse’s tail hair have been braided and woven into the trim.

Bidding on the “Einstein” is open now.

For more information about Old Friends, see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org or call the farm at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions, from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can be seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Maggie Mae Designs (508) 430-1626, sally@maggiemae.com

Join the Old Friends Royal Excursion Tour

GEORGETOWN, KY – SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 – This October, you’re invited to a Kentucky Royal Excursion experience featuring Old Friends Farm.

On October 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd (four consecutive Tuesdays) a small group of guests will board a luxury shuttle and take a guided tour of Keeneland Racecourse, Old Friends Farm, and the stately Kentucky Castle.

Keeneland Racecourse is a celebrated national landmark in Lexington with timeless beauty. Here tour guests will get a unique look at the sport of Thoroughbred Racing, including a track-side view of horses in their morning workouts.

From Keeneland, travel to Old Friends Farm, a Thoroughbred Retirement Facility based in Georgetown that cares for over 200 retired horses. Experience a tour led by founder Michael Blowen to meet Kentucky Derby-Preakness winners Silver Charm and War Emblem, and many other equine champions.

From there you will enjoy a scenic drive to the Kentucky Castle, a boutique hotel set in a medieval-style castle on scenic grounds featuring landscaped gardens. End the day with a guided Castle tour, and a three-course seasonal lunch in the Grand Ballroom.

Tours begin at 9 am at the Kentucky Castle, 230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY, and will be offered on Tuesday October 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd.

Tickets are $85 per person and include all transportation and a luxury lunch.

Tickets can be reserved online by visiting the Kentucky Castle, using the EVENTS tab, and choosing your preferred date, or CLICK HERE.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends Hosts Dr. Seuss Kids’ Weekend

GEORGETOWN, KY – August 30, 2019 – Old Friends, The Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, will host a children’s reading and art event highlighted by the newly published Dr. Seuss book, Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum (Penguin Random House), for two weekends in September.

The events, to be held Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 and again on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29, from 2 pm to 4 pm, will welcome children ages six to 10 for a horse-themed afternoon featuring a book reading, an arts & craft session, a visit to Old Friends’ own “Horse Museum,” and a short interactive farm tour to introduce youngsters to some of the farm’s most famous equine athletes, including two winners of the Kentucky Derby.

Participating kids will also receive a gift bag that includes a copy of the new Seuss book and other related goodies.

“This new book offers Old Friends an opportunity to have a focused children’s event, something we’ve not really had the opportunity to do,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “We hope this will not only encourage reading and creativity, but at the same time teach children about the long-term care of horses and other animals, and, of course, raise awareness of our farm and its mission.”

Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum is a never-before-published Dr. Seuss book about creating and looking at art. This book is like a visit to a museum – with a horse as your guide.

While beloved children’s book author Theodor Geisel — AKA Dr. Seuss — passed away in 1991, this new book is based on a manuscript and sketches discovered in 2013. Taking inspiration from these original sketches, acclaimed illustrator Andrew Joyner has created a look that is both subtly Seussian and his own.

His whimsical illustrations are combined with “real-life” paintings by such artists as Picasso, Alexander Calder, and Jackson Pollock, among others. The book also features cameo appearances by classic Dr. Seuss characters, among them the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Horton the Elephant.

Fifty (50) seats are available for each session of the Dr. Seuss Horse Museum event at Old Friends Farm, and the cost is $35 per child. Reservations are required (no walk-ins please) and are being accepted now. To reserve, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the farm at 1841 Paynes Depot Rd, Georgetown, KY. Please note: Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the event.

Payment is required in advance of event (cash, checks, and all major credit cards accepted). Payments can be made by phone, by mail, or in person at the farm.

Old Friends is a Thoroughbred retirement farm based in Georgetown, KY. The non-profit organization cares for over 200 retired and rescued horses, including breeding stallions. Among the famous residents are 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners Silver Charm and War Emblem. The farm is open to the public for tours daily by appointment.

For more information, visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends Welcomes Stakes Winner Soi Phet

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 8, 2019 – Old Friends welcomed new retiree Soi Phet, the 11-year-old son of Tizbud who was pensioned following his 64th and final start on June 29 at Los Alamitos.

Bred in California by ARCHA Racing, Soi Phet was claimed by conditioner Leonard Powell for $16,000 in May of 2013 at Hollywood Park for the partnership of Mathilde Powell, the Benowitz Family Trust, and Paul Viskovich. He went on to earn nearly $1 million for his new owners.

He scored his first stakes win in the 2014 Bertrando Stakes at Los Alamitos (a race he captured again in 2018), and later that year he returned to the one-mile oval to register a 7 1/4-length romp in the inaugural $200,000 Los Alamitos Mile.

In 2018, Soi Phet became the oldest stakes winner in Santa Anita history when, at 10, he captured The Crystal Water.

Soi Phet finished his career with 15 wins, including eight stakes, and a grade 1 placing in the 2013 Awesome Again Stakes, when he finished behind Mucho Macho Man and Paynter. His lifetime earnings total $1,023, 917.

“I’m such a fan of Soi Phet, and I’m so excited to welcome him to Old Friends,” said the organization’s founder and President Michael Blowen. “We hope all of his fans will visit him here, and we thank Leonard and his owners for sharing this great champ with us.”

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 to Close Kentucky Downs Satellite

Rumor Has It, the Kentucky Turf Stakes winner, is one of the seven retirees at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 3, 2019 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, announced that the organization will permanently close its satellite division based at Kentucky Downs, the racetrack and historical racing gaming facility in Franklin, KY, at the end of July.

The division is home to seven Old Friends retirees, including Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield, Kentucky Turf Stakes winner Rumor Has It, and Grade 2 winner Ball Four. It has been open to the public since June of 2015, and tours were scheduled and conducted by staff at the Simpson County Tourism office.

The horses will be returned to Old Friends’ Georgetown location and are currently expected to ship on July 25.

The collaboration was originally designed by Old Friends president Michael Blowen and former Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen to help raise awareness of retired racehorses and to promote local attractions in Simpson County.

“We had a wonderful run, but unfortunately, we did not achieve the level of tourism or growth we had hoped for,” said Blowen. “We felt it was no longer cost effective to remain open.

“We are eternally grateful to Dan Ware and his staff at the Simpson County Tourism Office for the enormous support they supplied this venture, and to our farm manager Jennifer Jones for the impeccable care she provided our horses,” Blowen continued. “The staff at Kentucky Downs has been a very gracious host, and we can’t thank them enough for their backing in this project.”

Public tours will continue to be conducted at Kentucky Downs and the gift shop will remain open until July 15. To schedule, please contact the Simpson County Tourism office at (270) 586-3040.

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 to Host “Wise Dan Day”

Wise Dan (photo by Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 19, 2019 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, will host “Wise Dan Day” on Saturday, July 6th from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The two-time Horse of the Year, multiple Eclipse winner, and two-time Breeders’ Cup Champion will make a special ambassador appearance at the organization’s main farm in support of aftercare, and will be available for fan meet-and-greets and photos.

The event begins at 2 pm and tickets are $15 per person. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling Old Friends’ main office at (502) 863-1775.

A homebred for Chicago businessman Morton Fink, Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry – Lisa Danielle, Wolf Power), had a formidable racing career that spanned five seasons. He won 19 graded stakes, 11 of them at the grade 1 level on dirt and turf, while racing from ages three to seven. His victories include multiple runnings of the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland and back-to-back wins in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2012 and 2013.

Wise Dan earned Horse of the Year, champion grass horse, and champion older horse titles in 2012 and then again in 2013, and retired with earnings of $7,552,920.

In 2016 the chestnut gelding — who underwent colic surgery in 2014 — was awarded the inaugural Rood & Riddle Comeback Award. The award given to an equine athlete who overcame a major health complication and returned to elite competition.

Now 12, Wise Dan is enjoying retirement at trainer Charlie and Amy LoPresti’s Forest Lane Farm in Lexington.

“We are so thankful to Charlie and Amy LoPresti and owner Morton Fink and family for letting their wonderful horse spend a day here at Old Friends meeting his many adoring fans,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “Wise Dan is one of racing’s greatest champions, and it’s an honor to welcome him. And how great is it to have the two-time winner of the Firecracker Handicap here on Fourth of July Weekend!”

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Multiple Graded Stakes Winner Hogy Joins Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 14, 2019 – Hogy, the multiple graded stakes winner, has been retired from racing and will be pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY.

Bred by Dr. John E. Little in Kentucky, Hogy (Offlee Wild – Floy, by Petionvillle), finishes his seven-year career with 55 starts and 19 wins and earnings of $1,339,782.

The near-black gelding launched his career at Arlington Park in 2011 capturing his first three starts, including the Brian Barenscheer Juvenile Stakes at Canterbury Park. He earned his first graded stakes in 2013 in the grade 3 Hanshin Cup Stakes, again at Arlington. In 2017 he set a track record for 5½ furlongs in the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds, while defeating Old Friends retiree — and that day’s 4-5 favorite — Green Mask.

Claimed from owner William Stiritz and trainer Scott Becker for $80,000 in 2017 following three straight losses, Hogy quickly earned his keep for new owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker when he took the grade 3 Kentucky Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs, defeating group 1 winner Undrafted in the process.

After a defeat in the grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar, Hogy went on the following year to capture the grade Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream.

“It’s always rewarding to pension one of racing’s great warriors,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “Hogy has seen it all and done it all — multiple tracks, multiple surfaces, competing in claimers up to grade 1 stakes. Now we hope he will just enjoy being loved and admired by his friends and fans.”

Now 10, the gelding arrived at Old Friends on June 14 with owner Hui in tow. “Old Hogy,” Hui noted, “could not be in better hands.”

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