Tag Archives: Old Friends

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

Grade 1 Winner Game On Dude Nominated to National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Game On Dude at Old Friends (Photo: Rick Capone)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 2, 2020 — The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced its nominees for induction in the class of 2020. Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, is proud to announce multiple-graded-stakes winner and racing superstar Game On Dude was among the equine nominees.

The 13-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again – Worldly Pleasure by Devil His Due retired to Old Friends in 2014 following one of the most prestigious campaigns in racing history, and has been a star attraction on the farm, which is open to the public daily.

Game On Dude is turned out with 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Little Mike in what the farm often refers to as the $10 million paddock.

Campaigned by trainer Bob Baffert and owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, Game On Dude holds the distinction of being the only horse to ever capture three runnings of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. In his final Big ‘Cap victory, in 2014, he covered the 1-1/4 mile distance in stakes record time of 1:58.17.

In addition, Game On Dude is only the second horse in history to sweep California’s three Grade 1 handicaps — the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic — in the same year.

In his 34 career starts Game On Dude captured 16 wins, eight of them Grade 1 stakes and 14 graded stakes in all. His career earnings are just under $6.5 million.

“Everyone at Old Friends is thrilled by this well-deserved honor bestowed on the irresistible Dude,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “We think he’s a worthy Hall of Famer and has earned the distinction. Thanks to the Hall of Fame nominating committee for appreciating all that Game On Dude has done for our great sport.”

The 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Friday, August 7, at 10:30 am. The event is free and open to the public (seating is limited).

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

Stormy Liberal, Two-time Breeders’ Cup Champion, Retired to Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY – FEBRUARY 11, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility based in Georgetown, KY, announced the arrival of multiple Graded Stakes winner and two-time Breeders’ Cup Champion Stormy Liberal.

Stormy Liberal will spend a few days undergoing a brief veterinary exam at Park Equine Hospital at Woodford before joining the retirees at Old Friends’ flagship farm in Georgetown.

The son of Stormy Atlantic, out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar, Stormy Liberal was taken from the claiming ranks in 2016 for $40,000 by trainer Peter Miller and owner Rockingham Ranch. He went on to capture multiple stakes for his new connections, including back-to-back scores in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in 2017 and 2018.

Closing the year with four consecutive victories, among them the Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes, Stormy Liberal earned the 2018 Eclipse Award for Champion Turf Male. With the win, he became the first sprinter to earn an Eclipse in the male turf horse division.

Current owner David Bernsen invested in Stormy Liberal in 2017, and in 2019 bought out Rockingham Ranch’s interest in the horse. This past December, following a thorough veterinary evaluation, Bernsen made the decision to retire the 8-year-old gelding from racing.

Stormy Liberal, who has been enjoying some down time in Florida under the care of trainer David Scanlon, retires with 12 wins from 37 starts and just over $2.2 million in purses.

“Stormy Liberal was a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said owner Bernsen. “He literally took us around the world from Hong Kong to Dubai, and no matter where he lined up to run, he outran his odds, which was a testament of his will to win.

“After sending Stormy to David Scanlon last December for a two-stage medical examination, it was determined that Stormy had a pre-existing injury that would require 6-8 months rest,” said Bernsen. “After consulting with David, I immediately picked up the phone to call Old Friends’ Michael Blowen and let him know I had retired Stormy.

“I am acutely aware that the industry is under fire on a lot of fronts, specifically the safety and well-being of our athletes,” Bernsen continued. “I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time and resources understanding some of the core factors, and, in my opinion, the predominant cause is not identifying pre-existing conditions. I would urge other owners, especially those who have been able to enjoy success at the highest level, to take a more active role in finding and supporting a solution.

“Gary Hartunian and I of Rockingham Ranch are immensely grateful to have been able to race such a magnificent horse,” said Bernsen, “and we hope his retirement to Old Friends will benefit all retired horses.”

“We’re so thrilled to have Stormy Liberal join Old Friends,” said Old Friends founder and President Blowen. “We’re grateful to everyone connected with this great athlete, especially David. They did everything to assure that he would have a dignified retirement.”

Blowen added that the farm will soon host a special ‘Welcome’ day for friends and fans of Stormy Liberal and another new Old Friends retiree, Patch, most likely in early April. Dates and times will be announced soon.

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

“Watchem Smokey” Is Second Design on the Block in Old Friends “Hats Off to the Horses” Auction

Photo: Connie Bush/Tiger Eye Photography.

GEORGETOWN, KY – FEBRUARY 4, 2020 –  The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction continues this week 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 $38,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by Watchem Smokey, a resident at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, NY, and it is showcased here by Gulfstream Park racing analyst Acacia Courtney.

The hat will be up for bid for 10 days only from 8 pm (EST) February 1st through 8 pm (EST) on February 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

The second hat up for bid in our 2020 honors Watchem Smokey, the Oklahoma-bred son of another Old Friends retiree, Alphabet Soup. Starting out as a claimer, Smokey went on to become a graded stakes winner with trainer Bobby Frankel. In 2009, Smokey was injured in what would be his final race at Oklahoma’s Remington Park. Thanks to the efforts of the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, Watchem Smokey recovered from his injury and was retired to Old Friends in 2010.

About the Hat

To honor this Old Friends retiree, the distinctive red, white, and blue racing silks of owner Edmund Gann provided the primary color inspiration. A foundation was created using a base layer of red dupioni silk in a wide-brim style.  A red dupioni silk under brim creates a bold, elegant effect when the wearer’s face is upturned.  To further showcase Gann’s stable colors, a large red rose curl created with alternating layers of dupioni silk and silk organza adorns the front of the hat. This sumptuous rose curl centerpiece is nestled into a medley of bold blue silk organza leaves.

For a final element in the floral centerpiece, seven chocolate silk organza “feathers” topstitched with black thread were added to reflect Watchem Smokey’s bay coloring.  A chocolate satin sash lined with blue silk organza encircles the crown of the hat and swirling layers of alternating chocolate brown and red tulle, encircle the crown.  For a final trim element, a single 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 “Watchem Smokey” 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

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