Tag Archives: Old Friends

Old Friends Celebrates the Soi Phet Stakes Saturday June 27

Soi Phet at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 25, 2020 – On Saturday June 27, 2020, Los Alamitos Race Course will host the inaugural running of the $125,000 Soi Phet Stakes (Black Type). Previously called the Bertrando Stakes (Black Type), it is a one-mile race on the dirt for California Bred Thoroughbreds 3 years old and up.

Bred by ARCHA Racing Inc. in California, Soi Phet was a son of Tizbud – Summer Jersey, by Siberian Summer. He was owned in his final seasons by the Benowitz Family Trust, Mathilde Powell, and Paul Viskovich, and trained for most of his career by Leonard Powell, who claimed the dark gray gelding at age 5 in 2013 for $16,000.

In his career, Soi Phet raced 64 times and put together a record of 15 wins, 7 seconds, 6 thirds, and $1,023,917 in earnings.

Without question, the track where he had the most success was Los Alamitos, where he raced in 11 black-type or listed stakes races and won five times.

Soi Phet contended in Bertrando Stakes (Black Type) six times and won it twice: 2014 and 2018. He also finished 2nd in 2016. On the same oval, he captured the E. B. Johnston Stakes (Black Type) twice (2016 and 2017) in four runnings, and had one of his most impressive career wins in the inaugural Los Alamitos Mile Stakes (Listed) in 2014, when he won it by 7-1/4 lengths.

In 2018, a then 10-year-old Soi Phet scored an especially memorable victory when he won the Crystal Water Stakes (Black Type) at Santa Anita to become the oldest horse to win a stakes race at the track.

CLICK HERE to see Soi Phet win the 2018 Crystal Water Stakes at Santa Anita at the age of 10.

While he never won a graded-stakes, he did run in a few of them. His best finish was a 3rd in the 2013 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita, behind Mucho Macho Man, who would go on to win the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Paynter.

Fittingly, Soi Phet’s final race came in the 2019 Bertrando Stakes. At age 11, he ran the race for a sixth time, finished sixth, and was retired. As a final honor to the fan-favorite, Los Alamitos renamed the Bertrando the Soi Phet Stakes.

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

Old Friends Celebrates the Daytona Stakes Saturday May 23

GR1 winner Daytona at Old Friends (Photo: Rick Capone)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MAY 21, 2020 – On Saturday, May 23, 2020, Santa Anita will present the Daytona Stakes (G3T), a 5-1/2-furlong race on the turf, as part of their nine-race program.

Named for a resident at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, The Daytona Stakes pays tribute to the six-time graded stakes winner whose career earnings totaled nearly $1 million. Overall, the son of Indian Ridge, bred by the Irish National Stud, scored 8 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 18 career starts.

CLICK HERE to see Daytona’s 2007 GR1 Hollywood Derby win, where he faced off against fellow Old Friends retiree NoBiz Like ShoBiz.

In 2008 Daytona started in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Oak Tree against the formidable Goldikova. Injured during the race, he finished 10th. It would be his final start.

Following his racing career, Daytona, a handsome chestnut, made an attempt at a second career but soundness issues prevented him from continuing.

The now 16-year-old Daytona was retired to Old Friends in 2014.

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

Old Friends Celebrates the Sunshine Forever Stakes May 9

GEORGETOWN, KY – MAY 8, 2020 – On Saturday, May 9, 2020, the featured stakes at Florida’s Gulfstream Park will be the Sunshine Forever Stakes, a tribute to the champion grass runner who was the first stallion retired to Old Friends, the non-profit Thoroughbred retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY.

The son of Roberto out of the stakes-placed mare Outward Sunshine (by Graustark), Sunshine Forever was bred and raced by John W. Galbreath and his Darby Dan Farm and trained by John Veitch.

In 1988, as a three-year-old, the talented colt turned in an Eclipse Award winning season, capturing five graded stakes wins, including three Grade 1 stakes in an eight-week period: The Man O’War, the Turf Classic, and the Budweiser International.

Favored to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he finished a game second to Great Communicator in what may be one of the most exciting races in the history of the sport.

CLICK HERE to see Sunshine Forever’s 1988 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Despite his narrow loss, Sunshine Forever nevertheless earned the 1988 Eclipse Award for Champion Male Turf horse.

Following his racing career Sunshine Forever stood stud in Japan from 1990 to 2004, at which time he was repatriated to the United States by Old Friends, and was among the organization’s first pensioned stallions.

He spent 10 years in retirement, passing away in 2014 at the age of 29.

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

Lexington Bourbon Society to Host Zoom Derby Event to Benefit Old Friends

Silver Charm, 1997.

The Kentucky Derby has been postponed, but we still get to celebrate the First Saturday in May. Our friends at the Lexington Bourbon Society are hosting a Zoom Party to celebrate Derby Day and also to help Old Friends and our 200+ retired horses, including 1997 Kentucky Derby-Preakness champion Silver Charm.

There are 50 spaces left to join this event. For every ticket sold, $10 will be donated to Old Friends.  Here are all the details:

What:
Pop-up Derby-In-Place Zoom Party

When:
Saturday, May 2nd 3-6 PM EST (Zoom portion 4:30-6)

Where:
The comfort of your own home

How:
$10 donation paid directly to Old Friends via eventbrite, with your confirmation email from the donation containing your unique Zoom login credentials.
(tickets: derby-in-place.eventbrite.com)

Who:
The first 50 people to complete their donation and receive their login details.

Why:
To support the wonderful work of the fine folks at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm.

The Lexington Bourbon Society has teamed up with Michter’s Distillery, ubercapper.com, and Lexington’s Wine+market to bring fans a fantastic solution to the 146th Kentucky Derby being moved from the First Saturday in May to Saturday, September 5.

Saturday, May 2nd, NBC Sports will present a virtual Kentucky Derby at Home Party, which includes “The First Saturday In May: American Pharoah’s Run to the Triple Crown”, a look back at American Pharoah’s 2015 Derby win en route to his historic Triple Crown, and “The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown”, a socially distant, computer-simulated edition of the Run for the Roses that pits all 13 Triple Crown winners against each other. (full details:  kentuckyderby.com/party)

While you have this broadcast on the television, we will host a zoom.us gathering starting at 4:30 that will include Michter’s schwag giveaways, Derby hat/fascinator/outfit contest, interactive Mint Julep demonstration and recipe, drawing for a private tour for two at Old Friends with Board President Michael Blowen, some fun “wagering”, and live handicapping of the Triple Crown Showdown by syndicated Thoroughbred handicapper Elis Starr (@Ubercapper) and more!

We will post a Zoom tutorial with dos and don’ts to ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience for all attending in the comments.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

Hats Off to the Horses 2020 Continues with the Slim Shadey Chapeau

Dagmar Steiner and Slim Shadey at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 3, 2020 –  The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction continues this week with a new 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 nearly $40,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by graded stakes winner Slim Shadey, 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) April 1st through 8 pm (EST) on April 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

A two-time graded-stakes winner, Slim Shadey — by 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal (FR) out of the Chief’s Crown mare Vino Veritas — was bred in Great Britain by Phil Cunningham and spent two seasons racing throughout England and Ireland. He made his U.S. debut for Cunningham and trainer Simon Callaghan in 2012 at Santa Anita, kicking off what was to become his banner season.

In February of 2012 Slim captured his first graded stakes, the Grade 2 San Marco at Santa Anita (a race he would capture again in 2013). Then, in September, Slim took the top spot in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship, which served as a stepping stone to a run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf where he finished 8th (a few lengths behind the winner, Old Friends retiree Little Mike). By 2014, the now 6-year-old Slim began a series of claims. In 2018 Slim was claimed by owner Michael Hui for trainer Mike Maker.  After a series of unsuccessful starts for his new connections, the time finally came for Slim to hang up his racing plates.

About the Hat

Since Slim raced for several different stables Steinmann used a combination of his pink, black, and white silks for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat.

A large foundation was created using a base layer of soft pink dupioni silk. The brim was then trimmed with a single layer of pink silk organza ruffle, which allows the light to pass through the sheer fabric. A fancy black braiding was top stitched where the silk layer meets the brim edge. To further showcase racing silk colors, a large rose curl, created out of alternating layers of pink dupioni silk and white silk organza, adorns the front of the hat.

For the final touches, a medley of black and white silk organza “feathers” were added, a black satin sash encircles the crown, and a black pebble button edged in gold adorns the sash in the back.

The hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 21 inches end to end. The lining for the “Slim Shadey” was done is a soft pink satin to coordinate with the floral trim.

As a physical remembrance, several strands of Slim’s tail hair have been braided and woven into the trim.

Our thanks go out to artist Dagmar Steiner for helping with this year’s “Hats Off to the Horses” and also to Old Friends volunteer and photographer Laura Battles for her stunning images.

Bidding on the “Slim Shadey 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

Old Friends Debuts Virtual Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 30 2020 –  Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Kentucky, debuted the first in a series of Virtual Farm Tours that will enable fans to continue to access the non-profit organization’s 100-plus equine retirees at its Georgetown location during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The series, dubbed “Monday Mornings with Michael”, is hosted by Old Friends founder Michael Blowen and will offer short visits with a few equine retirees each week. They will be posted on Old Friends social media platforms on Monday mornings and will also be available via their website and YouTube channel.

The first video showcases Old Friends’ oldest retires, multiple stakes winner Dinard, who is 32, and one-time claimer Archie’s Echo, who is 31.

You can see it on YouTube by CLICKING 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 Statement Regarding Death of War Emblem

War Emblem at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 24, 2020 –  Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, the nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Farm based in Kentucky, released the findings of the necropsy report regarding the recent passing of 2002 Kentucky Derby – Preakness winner War Emblem.

War Emblem, 21, was found deceased at Old Friends on March 11, 2020 after what was initially perceived to be a fatal paddock accident. A full medical report was, at that time, pending.

The following statement was issued by Old Friends resident veterinarian, Dr. Bryan Waldridge of Park Equine Hospital in Versailles, KY:

“After War Emblem’s sudden death, a complete necropsy was performed at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The cause of death was ruptured small intestine. The cause of the tear in his small intestine could not be determined by anatomic or microscopic examination. No strangulation or displacement of the small intestine was present. Rupture of the small intestine without a predisposing cause is an uncommon and, unfortunately, fatal injury.”

“We were very proud to be given the opportunity to repatriate War Emblem when his stallion career came to an end, and we were lucky enough to have him with us for nearly five years,” said Blowen. “His great speed, great beauty, intelligence, and distinct personality made him one of our most popular and beloved retirees, visited by hundreds of fans weekly, even in our off season.

“Our entire staff was devastated by his unexpected passing,” Blowen added. “We’ll all miss him terribly.”

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 Welcomes Pollard’s Vision

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 16, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has welcomed new retiree Pollard’s Vision.

The multiple graded stakes winner and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful, who is now 19, arrived from Mighty Acres in Pryor, OK, where he has stood since 2015.

Blind in his right eye since birth, Pollard’s Vision was named after Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard.

Bred in Kentucky by Charles A. Smith, Pollard’s Vision (Carson City – Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band) was campaigned by owner Edgewood farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. A consistent performer throughout his career, the dark bay colt broke his maiden as a 2-year-old at Saratoga in only his second start. At three, he captured his first stakes and punched his ticket to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May by winning the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in a wire-to-wire victory.

His 2004 Kentucky Derby run resulted in a 17th place finish, but Pollard’s Vision went on that year to capture the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby, the Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes, and, as a 4-year-old, the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap.

He suffered a career ending injury in 2005 in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga and was retired.

Pollard’s Vision began his stud career at Wintergreen farm in Kentucky. He relocated to Waldorf Farm in NY in 2013 and to Mighty Acres in 2015.

He is the sire of six-time Grade 1 winner, Eclipse Champion, and 2020 Hall of Fame nominee Blind Luck as well as Grade 1 placed Twentytwentyvision, among other stakes winners.

“We’re very grateful to everyone at Mighty Acres, especially Randy Blair, for allowing Old Friends to care for Pollard’s Vision in his golden years,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I remember him so well when he was racing and I’m thrilled that, now, I’ll be able to see him every day.”

(Please note: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Old Friends remains closed to public tours until further notice.)

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

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 16, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has welcomed new retiree Pollard’s Vision.

The multiple graded stakes winner and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful, who is now 19, arrived from Mighty Acres in Pryor, OK, where he has stood since 2015.

Blind in his right eye since birth, Pollard’s Vision was named after Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard.

Bred in Kentucky by Charles A. Smith, Pollard’s Vision (Carson City – Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band) was campaigned by owner Edgewood farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. A consistent performer throughout his career, the dark bay colt broke his maiden as a 2-year-old at Saratoga in only his second start. At three, he captured his first stakes and punched his ticket to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May by winning the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in a wire-to-wire victory.

His 2004 Kentucky Derby run resulted in a 17th place finish, but Pollard’s Vision went on that year to capture the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby, the Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes, and, as a 4-year-old, the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap.

He suffered a career ending injury in 2005 in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga and was retired.

Pollard’s Vision began his stud career at Wintergreen farm in Kentucky. He relocated to Waldorf Farm in NY in 2013 and to Mighty Acres in 2015.

He is the sire of six-time Grade 1 winner, Eclipse Champion, and 2020 Hall of Fame nominee Blind Luck as well as Grade 1 placed Twentytwentyvision, among other stakes winners.

“We’re very grateful to everyone at Mighty Acres, especially Randy Blair, for allowing Old Friends to care for Pollard’s Vision in his golden years,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I remember him so well when he was racing and I’m thrilled that, now, I’ll be able to see him every day.”

(Please note: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Old Friends remains closed to public tours until further notice.)

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

Dual Classic Winner War Emblem Dies at 21

War Emblem at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 11, 2020 – 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion War Emblem has died. The dual classic winner had been pensioned at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY since 2015.

The cause of death is perceived to be a fatal paddock accident, but exact details are unknown. However, a full necropsy report is pending. He was 21.

In 2015 Old Friends re-repatriated War Emblem from the Yoshida family’s Shadai Stallion Farm in Japan. He was the second Kentucky Derby winner returned to the Bluegrass by Old Friends from overseas. Silver Charm, 1997 winner, arrived in 2014.

War Emblem (Our Emblem – Sweetest Lady, Lord at War) was bred by Charles Nuckols Jr. & Sons of Midway, KY and originally campaigned by Russell Reineman and trainer Frank Springer. The near black stallion was sold to Prince Ahmed bin Salman’s Thoroughbred Corp. and transferred to Bob Baffert’s barn after he captured the Illinois Derby in an impressive gate-to-wire victory.

Three weeks later War Emblem captured the 128th running of the Kentucky Derby for his new connections.

Following an equally impressive win in the Preakness, War Emblem became a serious contender to capture history’s 12th Triple Crown, but he stumbled badly at the start of the Belmont Stakes and ended up beaten by long-shot Sarava, who is also a retiree at Old Friends.

War Emblem went on to capture the Haskell Invitational for a third Grade 1 win that year and retired with 13 starts, 7 wins, and earnings of $3,491,000.

In the fall of 2002, War Emblem was sold to the Yoshida family for $17 million to stand at their renowned Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, which also stood the great Sunday Silence. War Emblem proved a difficult but talented stallion, having sired fewer than 200 foals in his career but many of them talented runners, including Japan’s champion 2-year-old filly Robe Tissage.

When War Emblem retired from stud duty, the Yoshida family generously agreed to donate the stallion to Old Friends. Negotiations were coordinated by Narvick International’s Emmanual de Seroux.

“We’re very grateful to Mr. Yoshida and all of the fans who helped get War Emblem to Old Friends nearly five years ago,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I know we’re supposed to appreciate all of our retirees the same but he was one of the very special ones. He was tough, narcissistic, bold, and handsome. I adored him.

“I proudly count among a very meager number of accomplishments the day he allowed me to put his halter on without biting me,” Blowen added. “He trusted me. What more could I ask for? The farm will recover from his loss over time, but it’ll never be the same.”

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 Continues with Soi Phet Chapeau

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 2, 2020 –  The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction continues this week with a new 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 nearly $39,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by stakes winner Soi Phet, 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) March 1st through 8 pm (EST) on March 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

Bred in California, Soi Phet was a formidable force in the Golden State for eight seasons, between 2012 and 2019, winning eight stakes and placing third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again. The dark bay son of Tizbud even set a record of a different sort in 2018, becoming the oldest stakes winner in the history of Santa Anita when he won the Crystal Water at the age of 10.  In all, Soi Phet had 15 trips to the winner’s circle from his 64 lifetime starts, and he put over $1 million in the bank.

About the Hat

To honor this new Old Friends retiree, the distinctive orange, white, red, and yellow silk colors of his connections were used as inspiration for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat.

A foundation was created using a base of black dupioni silk.  A large, sumptuous rose curl, created in alternating layers of red silk organza and dupioni silk, adorns the front.  This floral centerpiece is framed with two-tone orange and yellow organza leaves that are top stitched with orange thread as an accent.  Four black silk organza “bow loops” and three black silk organza “feathers” were added to reflect Soi Phet’s nearly black coat.

Swirling layers of red tulle were gathered and shaped to cover the brim, and a red satin sash lined with orange organza was handcrafted to encircle the crown of the hat.  For a final accent, a black pebble button adorns the sash in the back.

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

Bidding on the “Soi Phet” 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