Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield is one of the Old Friends retirees now at Kentucky Downs.
GEORGETOWN, KY – JULY 16, 2015 – Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, the joint venture between the Georgetown, KY Thoroughbred Retirement Facility and the historic oval in Franklin, KY, will open its doors to the public on Friday July 17.
The new horse exhibit, located at 5565 Nashville Rd in Franklin, KY, will showcase five retired racehorses — including athletes with a history of running at Kentucky Downs — via tours coordinated by the Simpson County Tourism Commission.
The 30-minute tours will be offered at 11 am and 4 pm daily except Mondays. Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling the Simpson County Tourism Office at (270) 586-3040 or toll free at (866)-531-2040. Tours are $5 per adult, children 12 and under are free. Group tours can also be accommodated by appointment.
Five Old Friends retirees are currently featured on the tour:
Ball Four, the 14-year-old son of Grand Slam who earned over $730,000 in his 31 starts. Ball Four has some distinct ties to Kentucky racing having won the Kentucky Cup and the Tejano Run Stakes at Turfway Park and the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland.
Rumor Has It won the Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs in 2008. The son of Awesome Again, he captured over $300,000 in his 38 starts.
Sgt. Bert won the 2005 and 2006 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland, where he set a track record for 5½ furlongs. The bay son of Confide earned over $350,000 in his career.
Thornfield is a Champion from the North. The 21-year-old son of Sky Classic was Canada’s Sovereign-Award winner and Horse of the Year in 1999 and is best remembered there for his searing victory in the Canadian International at 19-1.
Tour of the Cat is a multiple graded-stakes winner of over $1.1 million. After a prestigious career he was found racing at bottom level at 11 years old. Concerned owner Maggie Moss claimed him in order to retire him at Old Friends in 2009.
Other equine retirees are expected to arrive in the fall.
In addition to the horse exhibit, an adjoining Visitor’s Center and an Old Friends gift shop, open from 10 am – 5 pm daily except Monday, will be housed in a newly renovated structure on the Downs stable area.
“We’re proud to be working with Kentucky Downs and the Simpson County Tourist Commission on this venture,” said Old Friends Founder and President Michael Blowen. “This is a great facility, and the best part is that we’ll be able to introduce these retired athletes to even more fans. This exhibit will offer people a way to maintain emotional ties to the horses, and it will also offer a new way to celebrate the history of horse racing in their community.”
“We are so pleased to be the first live racetrack to provide a home for these former equine athletes,” said Rick Albright, Racing Manager and Assistant Racing Secretary at Kentucky Downs. “This is a very unique layout that will allow them to enjoy their retirement in an environment they are accustomed to: a beautiful racecourse. Some of the paddocks even border the outer fence of the course,” Albright noted, “so the horses can look down the homestretch of a track they may have once won races on. That, to us, is a very exciting twist to the Old Friends at Kentucky Downs facility.”
Franklin-Simpson County Tourism Director Dan Ware also noted: “People everywhere associate Kentucky with horses, and visitors to our tourism log cabin are always asking, ‘Where can we see a horse?’ It’s great to finally be able to direct them to Old Friends at Kentucky Downs. There is no other tourist attraction like it anywhere along the I-65 corridor in Kentucky,” Ware added.
The joint venture is expected to help raise awareness of the need for Thoroughbred aftercare and to promote local attractions and increase tourism in Simpson County.
For additional information, contact the Simpson County Tourist Commission at (270) 586-3040.
About Old Friends
Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY, conducts tours daily and attracts nearly 20,000 visitors annually. The farm is home to over 100 of the organization’s 150 retirees, and star attractions include Hall of Fame Champion and 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, three-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, Breeders’ Cup Champions Gulch and Amazombie, and 2002 Belmont stakes winner Sarava.
About Kentucky Downs
Kentucky Downs is located in Franklin, KY. The track conducts a live turf racing meet each September on the only “European-style” race course in North America. The meet is staged in an informal festival setting and features the annual running of the Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup. Additionally, Kentucky Downs offers year-round simulcasting and an expanded Gaming Floor that now offers 390 Historical Horse Racing games. Kentucky Downs also serves as the site for numerous entertainment events in Franklin and Simpson County. For visitor information, call (270) 586-7778 or see their website at www.kentuckydowns.com.
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 110 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, email@example.com; Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dan Ware, (270) 586-3040, email@example.com; Rick Albright, (270) 776-3447, firstname.lastname@example.org