Tag Archives: Old Friends

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

Old Friends Summer Twilight Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – JUNE 3, 2019 – Cool down this summer with a series of special “Twilight Tours” at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, KY.

Beginning June 5th, 2019, Old Friends will feature evening tours, beginning at 6 pm, on Wednesday and Friday nights.

These Twilight Tours will be available through August, and will be the same 90-minute, guided outdoor walking tour the farm currently offers daily.

In addition, 6 pm Twilight Tours will be offered each night from Wednesday July 10th through Sunday July 14 to welcome visitors from BreyerFest 2019.

Reservations are required for Twilight Tours, and can be made online by visiting the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and clicking the Book Tour button, or by calling the farm at (502) 863-1775.

(Note: Online booking is 24 hours in advance. Interested visitors should call the farm for reservations if online booking is closed.)

For those looking for a creative tour experience, Old Friends is will also offer a private “Spotlight Photo Tour” with Old Friends photographer-in-residence Laura Battles.

Many fans and supporters of Old Friends are familiar with Battles’s work through social media pages and others. These private Spotlight tours will be customized, 90-plus minute tours in which Battles will share her techniques, showcase lesser seen areas of the farm, and give guests the opportunity to photograph many of the retired equines themselves.

The exclusive experience is $175 for a group of five or $35 per person and will include a commemorative digital photo album that tour guests will receive at a later date.

Private “Spotlight” tours are subject to availability, must be booked in advance by calling the farm at (502) 863-1775, and are limited to five (5) people.

Old Friends is a popular Central Kentucky tourist “Destination” attracting over 20,000 visitors annually. The non-profit organization offers up-close-and-personal walking tours to meet its Thoroughbred champions, including 1997 Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner Silver Charm, 2002 Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner War Emblem, Belmont Stakes winners Touch Gold and Sarava, Breeders’ Cup champ Alphabet Soup, and three-time Santa Anita Handicap star Game On Dude, among many other stars of the turf.

“We want everyone to be able to visit the farm and meet our champion Thoroughbreds,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “We know many people work during the day and can’t always make a morning or afternoon tour. So we hope these Twilight Tours will offer another option. Also, it’s a great time to enjoy the cooler evening temperatures,” Blowen added.

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

Old Friends Launches New Membership Program, “The Hoof Patrol”

Illustration by Remi Bellocq.

GEORGETOWN, KY – MAY 30, 2019 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, is introducing a new fan-based membership initiative, “The Hoof Patrol,” which will serve to educate members and aid with equine retirees facing costly and ongoing hoof-related issues.

Members who join the Hoof Patrol will be able to choose from different levels of support, and their contribution will supply a continuous funding stream to for Old Friends retirees that have short and long-term ailments — everything from common abscesses to serious issues such as Laminitis.

All Hoof Patrol memberships will include a gift of an official key chain, a full year of email updates and information, including spotlight horse case-studies, videos & photos, “Talk to the Hoof” Q&As, and photo opportunities with Old Friends Hoof Patrol horses when visiting the farm.

Members will also enjoy contest eligibility for giveaways of shoes worn by selected Hoof Patrol horses.

Fans will have three Hoof Patrol support levels to choose from:

Bronze Shoe Member ($50 annually)

Your annual donation provides supplies directly for the Hoof Patrol Hoof care Tool Box. Supplies for care of hoof ailments include:

Keratex hoof hardener
Animalintex hoof poultice
Betadine
Cast padding
Elastikon (4″)
3M Vetwrap
Heavy duty duct tape
Farriers Formula Double strength
EasyBoot Rx therapy hoof boot
Soft-Ride hoof boots
Custom fit glue on shoes

Silver Shoe Member ($125 annually)

Your annual donation provides support for horses experiencing short-term hoof issues such as abscesses, bruises, cracks, and general soreness.

Gold Shoe Member ($250 annually)

Your annual donation provides support for horses experiencing long-term issues, such as chronic arthritis, Laminitis, brittle hooves, quarter cracks, issues associated with Cushing’s Disease, and other geriatric issues.

For additional information and to join, interested fans can either click here, visit the Old Friends 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

Yankee Fourtune, Grade 3 Winner, Euthanized

Yankee Fourtune in retirement at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MAY 29, 2019 – Grade 3 winner Yankee Fourtune was euthanized May 28 at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, due to issues of chronic arthritis.

The 12-year-old gelding had been pensioned at the non-profit organization since 2015.

Campaigned by New Jersey business man Harvey Clarke and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, in 2010 the 3-year-old Yankee Fourtune (Yankee Gentleman – Madam Ann, Mi Cielo) was undefeated in five starts on turf, which included his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby and culminated with a win in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs.

The gray gelding raced for four additional seasons, but never quite regained his championship form, and he soon entered the claiming ranks.

In 2012 Yankee was claimed from owner Clarke for $50,000. But the gelding always had a special place in his heart. Two years later Clarke — who was also known as the breeder or co-breeder of such champions as I’ll Have Another, Stopchargingmaria, and Cairo Prince — tracked down the horse’s new owners to offer his assistance if ever needed.

Clarke soon received a call that Yankee Fourtune needing emergency colic surgery.

Clarke took care of the surgery, and donated the horse to Old Friends to secure his retirement. Clarke remained a frequent visitor to the farm and a longtime supporter until his passing in January 2019 following a long bout with lung cancer.

“Losing Harvey and Yankee Fourtune is a huge blow to everyone who knew them both,” said Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “Harvey loved Yankee Fourtune, and inquired about him a lot. They were lucky to have each other.”

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

Geri, a Grade 1 Winner, Euthanized at 27

Geri at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MAY 27, 2019 – Grade I winner Geri was euthanized May 25 at Park Equine Hospital in Versailles due to complications from colic.

Geri had been a retiree at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, since 2013. The stallion was 27.

Geri was among nine stallions repatriated from overseas stud duty by the non-profit organization. He arrived back in the U.S. from Italy.

Raced as a homebred by Allen E. Paulson and trained by Bill Mott, Geri (Theatrical-Garimpeiro, by Mr. Prospector) entered the spotlight with his victory in the 1996 Grade3 Creme Fraiche Handicap. The chestnut colt earned his first Grade 1 later that year in the Oaklawn Handicap.

Geri went on to capture the Woodbine Mile and the Citation Handicap in 1997 before finishing his career with a total of nine wins and earnings of $1,707,980.

As an international sire Geri was well represented by the multiple stakes-winning mare Bedanken, Japanese millionaire Lucky Break, and champion steeplechaser Party Airs. He was also the sire of A. P. Slew, another Old Friends retiree.

“Geri’s handsome countenance offered an insufficient disguise for his deep-seated toughness,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He knew who he was. He was even smart enough to tell us when his time had come. We will miss him terribly. Our thanks to Madeleine Paulson for supporting him and other great Paulson Thoroughbreds throughout the years.”

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