Tag Archives: Old Friends

Old Friends Welcomes Tom’s Ready

GEORGETOWN, KY – November 23, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, is proud to welcome multiple graded stakes winner Tom’s Ready.

The 7-year-old son of More Than Ready — Goodbye Stranger, by Broad Brush, stood initially at Spendthrift Farm and then at Red River Farms in Louisiana.

Bred in Pennsylvania and campaigned by the late Tom Benson’s GMB Racing and trainer Dallas Stewart, Tom’s Ready broke his maiden in his third start as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs, and followed that win with a close 2nd in the Street Sense Stakes.

A second-place finish to Gun Runner in the Louisiana Derby (G2) qualified Tom’s Ready for the Kentucky Derby, where he finished 12th behind winner Nyquist.

But his career apex came the following year when he captured the 2016 $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.  He went on to defeat older horses, including champion sprinter Runhappy, in the Ack Ack Stakes (G3), again at Churchill. He ended the season with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

At 4, he captured the Leemat Stakes at Presque Isle Downs and the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park.

Tom’s Ready retires with earnings of $1,036,267.

“I truly respect and appreciate the great work of the staff at Old Friends as we have come to know Michael Blowen and his great work,” said GMB Racing’s Gayle Benson. “We have had St. Aloysius there for a number of years, and it gives us great pleasure to have our wonderful Tom’s Ready retire to Old Friends. He was our first purchase, he is a Grade II winner, and he raced in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeder’s Cup, so we are very proud of him and he is deserving of the great care that Old Friends will provide.”

“We’re honored to add Tom’s Ready to our other old friends,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I’m certain that his many fans will be very excited to see him when we, hopefully, open for tours post-virus. Meanwhile, he already has his head in the carrot bucket.”

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

Old Friends Welcomes Awesome Again, Milwaukee Brew

Awesome Again (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – OCTOBER 30, 2020 — Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, announced the arrival of two new stallions: Multiple graded stakes winners Awesome Again and Milwaukee Brew.

Both were pensioned from stud duty in 2019 at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs, near Paris, KY, and have now been donated to the non-profit organization.

Awesome Again, now 27, boasts an exemplary resume as both a racehorse and a stallion. He broke his maiden at Hollywood Park in just his second start as a 3-year-old in 1997. He returned a few weeks later to capture that year’s Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine. Back in the U.S. that summer the son of Deputy Minister went on to win the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and was third to Deputy Commander in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

At 4, he completed an undefeated season that included five graded stakes victories, among them The Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), The Whitney Handicap (G1), and one of the most memorable editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), where, looking defeated, he rallied in the stretch to defeat grade 1 winners Coronado’s Quest and Swain and that year’s Kentucky Derby-Preakness hero, Silver Charm.

As significant in the breeding shed as he was on the track, Awesome again sired three champions: Ghostzapper, 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older horse; Ginger Punch, 2007 champion older mare; and Nominee, a multiple champion in Trinidad and Tobago. His other elite runners include: Old Friends retirees Game On Dude — who captured 14 graded stakes and is the only three-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in history — and Awesome Gem, who captured the Hollywood Gold Cup at age 7; Breeder’s Cup Distaff winner Round Pond; Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko; and 2019 year Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston.

He has sired 13 millionaires and five multi-millionaires as well as four Breeders’ Cup Champions. Awesome Again is also the first Breeders’ Cup Classic winner to sire a BC Classic winner (Ghostzapper).

Milwaukee Brew, 23, earned eight wins in his 24 starts and is best known for his back-to-back victories in the 2002 and 2003 Santa Anita Handicap (G1). Other wins include the 2002 California Stakes (G2) and the 2000 Ohio Derby (G2). The son of Wild Again retired in 2003 with earnings of well over $2.8 million. Also a prominent stallion standing at Adena Springs North, near Ontario, his top runners include Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Milwaukee Appeal, Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Ginger Brew, and Panamanian champion Coltimus Prime

The new stallions will join Adena’s Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, who were retired to Old Friends in 2015.

“We’re very grateful to Frank and Belinda and everyone at The Stronach Group for trusting us with these two great Thoroughbreds,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “The Stronachs have always been extremely generous when it comes to supporting their retirees. When Alphabet Soup’s cancer needed special attention, Frank made sure all of his medical bills were taken care of. And I adore Awesome Again’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic even though he beat Silver Charm.”

“When it comes to Awesome Again and Milwaukee Brew, they are two of the best-natured stallions I’ve been blessed to work with,” said Adena Springs Stallion Manager Bill Drury. “When it came time to consider retirement settlements, if not my own backyard, there was no place I would rather they be than with Michael at Old Friends. His has a reputation of exemplary care, and the fan access is exactly what these champions deserve in their twilight years.”

In addition, in the coming weeks, a third Adena stallion, Silver Max, will be pensioned with Old Friends. Silver Max, is perhaps best known for ending reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan’s nine-race win streak with his upset win in the 2013 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. In 2012 Silver Max had earned his first graded stakes over the same oval with a score in the Transylvania Stakes (G3T). He retired in 2014 with 12 wins from 27 starts and over $1.9 million in earnings.

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

Five-Time Grade 1 Winner Einstein Euthanized

GEORGETOWN, KY – OCTOBER 28, 2020 – Five-time Grade 1 winner Einstein has died.

The 18-year-old son of Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck had been pensioned at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY since 2019. He was euthanized this morning at Park Equine Hospital due to complications of cancer.

Trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein (Spend a Buck–Gay Charm, by Ghadeer) captured the 2009 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and four grade I stakes on turf, including back-to-back triumphs in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.

Other wins included the 2008 Clark Handicap (gr. II), also at Churchill, and the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds. Einstein was among the first to have victories on all three track surfaces: dirt, turf, and synthetic.

In all Einstein made 27 starts, winning 11 races. He won or placed in 13 stakes, all of which were graded, and his career earnings totaled $2,703,324.

Einstein retired from racing in 2010 to stand at The Stronach Group’s Adena Springs near Paris, KY. He later stood at Adena Springs North in Ontario, Canada and at Magali Farms near Santa Ynez, CA.

His top runners include grade III winner Rankhasprivileges and multiple-stakes-placed E Equalsmcsquared. In 2019 Einstein was retired by Adena Springs to the non-profit organization.

“When we first retired Einstein, he was diagnosed with a tumor,” noted Old Friends’ Michael Blowen. “Dr. Rhodes Bell of Park Equine performed a delicate operation and removed the tumor. The procedure allowed Einstein to enjoy more than a year of happy life with Old Friends before the fast-growing tumors re-occurred over the weekend.

“Einstein was as classy and smart as he was handsome,” Blowen added. “He was a farm favorite, and he was especially fond of John Bradley. I wished we could have taken care of him for another decade.”

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

Old Friends Welcomes Birdstone

GEORGETOWN, KY – Aug 28, 2020 – Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Birdstone has been pensioned to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

A homebred for owner Marylou Whitney and trained by Nick Zito, Birdstone captured the G1 Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old in 2003. Birdstone ran up the track in the Kentucky Derby and sat out the Preakness, before surprising most of the sell-out crowd when he got up in the final yards in the Belmont Stakes to ruin Smarty Jones’ try for the Triple Crown. That summer, at Saratoga Race Course, Birdstone proved that the Belmont was no fluke when he added a victory in the Travers Stakes to his impressive resume.

The son of Grindstone, out of the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, Birdstone retired from racing in 2004 after a chip was found in his left front ankle after his final start was in the GR1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Birdstone retired with five victories from nine starts and earnings of $1,575,600.

He spent his stallion career at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, KY where he became one of very few sires to have produced a Kentucky Derby winner in their first crop, when Mine That Bird captured the 2009 Run for the Roses at 50-to-1 upset in 2009. That same year, his son Summer Bird repeated his sire’s efforts by winning both the Belmont and Travers Stakes.

“We are so grateful to John Hendrickson for allowing Old Friends to care for Birdstone in his post-breeding career,” said Blowen. “He’s a living tribute to the late Marylou Whitney, and we plan to carry on her great contributions to the aftercare of both humans and horses,” he added. “We’re extremely grateful to John for trusting us to care for his tremendous stakes winner. Birdstone had a great life at Gainesway and we plan to continue that tradition at Old Friends.”

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

Old Friends Welcomes New Retirees Work All Week, The Pizza Man, and Syndergaard

The Pizza Man (left) and Work All Week.

GEORGETOWN, KY – AUGUST 21, 2020 – This week, Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, welcomed three new retirees, stakes winner all.

Work All Week, a seven-time stakes winner, was owned and bred by Richard and Karen Papiese and campaigned by trainer Roger Brueggemann. The Illinois-bred son of City Zip was the champion male sprinter of 2014 after capturing the 2014 GR 1 Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Work All Week was retired from racing in 2015 at the age of six due to a stress fracture in his right knee with a 13-4-1 record from 19 starts and earnings of $1,511,071. In addition to his Eclipse Award as outstanding male sprinter, Work All Week is a two-time Illinois Horse of the Year.

The Pizza Man, another star for Papiese and Brueggemann, is a multiple GR1 winner. By English Channel out of the Lear Fan mare I Can Fan Fan, The Pizza Man is the only Illinois bred to claim victory in both the GR1 Arlington Million (2015) and the GR1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (2016). He retired from racing in 2017 at the age of eight after being diagnosed with a chip in his left front ankle. He closed his career with 17 wins from his 36 starts and earnings of 2,158,941. Since retiring, The Pizza Man enjoyed a second career as a stable pony for his former trainer.

Syndergaard, owned by the partnership of Eric Fein, Christopher McKenna, Harris Fein, Guri Singh, and Jerry Walia, was named after New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard. The New York-bred son of Majesticperfection – Magic Belle, Magical Thinking, was a dazzling 2-year-old under the tutelage of trainer Todd Pletcher, cinching his maiden outing at Saratoga and going on to capture the Funny Cide Stakes over the same oval. That same year he was second in the GR1 Champagne, which led to a start in the 2016 GR1 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he ended up 5th. He later moved to the barn of trainer John P. Terranova II. This year, the chestnut gelding was retired after his last start June 6 at Belmont Park with 17 Starts, 3 Wins, 4 places, 2 shows, and earnings: $477, 269.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “I wish everyone could see the absolute joy expressed by The Pizza Man and Work All Week as they celebrate in their paddock. And Syndergaard is just gorgeous. Thanks to their owners for trusting us and their fans for all their support.”

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

Old Friends Named Beneficiary of Charity for Champions Campaign

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 17, 2020 – Breeders’ Cup, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international events, and Maker’s Mark®, the original premium bourbon, announced the 2020 Limited-Edition Maker’s Mark bottle from the Charity for Champions program, which began in 2015, with the goal of raising money for Thoroughbred industry charities.

Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, is once again proud to be named, for the fifth consecutive year, one of the official charity beneficiaries.

Home to such Breeders’ Cup Champions as Alphabet Soup (1996 Classic), Eldaafer (2010 Marathon), Little Mike (2012 Turf), and Amazombie (2011 Sprint), Old Friends cares for over 200 retired Thoroughbreds in six locations.

In addition to Old Friends, proceeds from the 2020 auction will support the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America’s COVID-19 relief efforts supporting industry stakeholders most in need.

The latest collection of limited-edition Maker’s Mark® bottles will feature James E. “Ted” Bassett III, a former Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup President who has long been regarded as Thoroughbred Racing’s Gentleman Ambassador.

“Old Friends is honored to team up with the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America to pay tribute to Ted Bassett,” said Old Friends President and founder Michael Blowen. “Mr. Bassett, who has visited Old Friends on numerous occasions, is an enthusiastic supporter. His ambassadorship on behalf of these great Thoroughbreds is unparalleled and we are overjoyed that Breeders’ Cup and Maker’s Mark are saluting him with this magnificent bottle.”

The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY.

Bottles can be reserved for a donation of $400, and fans can secure bottles now through the Charity for Champions page: CLICK HERE.

Bottle fulfillment and pickup information will be announced in the coming weeks.

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

Grade 1 Winner Dinard Euthanized at Old Friends

Dinard at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 16, 2020 – Multiple graded stakes winner Dinard has died.

The son of Strawberry Road (AUS) was euthanized at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, due to the infirmities of old age. He was 32.

Dinard had been pensioned at Old Friends since 2010. Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, made the announcement of his passing.

Bred and campaigned by Allen E. Paulson and trained by Richard Lundy, Dinard (Strawberry Road (AUS) – Daring Bidder, Bold Bidder) was among the top three-year-olds in 1991.

He broke his maiden as a 2-year-old in his inaugural start at his home track of Santa Anita. Not three months later he earned his first graded stakes in the San Rafael (GR2) and soon after the Santa Anita Derby (GR1), which made him the favorite for the 1991 Kentucky Derby. But an injured foreleg took him out for the competition.

Other victories include the Los Feliz Stakes, and place finishes in the Grade 1 Strub Stakes and San Vicente Breeders’ Cup Stakes.  He finished out of the money only once in his career.

Dinard retired in 1992 with 8 starts, 4 wins and earnings of $590,250.

After retirement, Paulson sent the gelded Dinard to the Kentucky Horse Park with hopes he could be retrained for a second career, but foot and leg injuries prevented it. While at the park he was cared for by Georgetown local Beverly Sharp. Sharp fell in love with Dinard and Paulson gifted him to her on Mother’s Day. He remained with Sharp until 2010.

“He was my best friend for so many years,” said Sharp. “I want everyone to know how much I loved him.”

“Dinard was a great racehorse, a great companion, and a great elder statesman,” said Blowen. “We were proud to have him these 10 years. His kind spirit will be missed by all.”

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

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.