November 24, 2019

A new Old Friend arrived two days ago. A warm welcome to Brilliant Decision!

Brilliant Decision

Brilliant Decision is a son of Wood Memorial winner Bellamy Road. His dam, Tiny Decision, was a stakes placed daughter of Ogygian. But Brilliant Decision didn’t inherit his parents’ competitive spirit.

He did race once as a three year old and took eight more tries at age four. He achieved a win in a maiden claiming race at Belterra Park in Cincinnati for his owners, breeder Sally Thomas and trainer Lee Rossi. But he was short on the competitive spirit so important to a racehorse. Among horses, as among humans, those who don’t relish athletic competition don’t suceed at it. Brilliant Decision didn’t.

But he’s got qualities that will make him appreciated at Old Friends. He’s one of the sweetest horses ever to set foot on the farm. This morning was overcast and my snapshots don’t do him justice, but I hope you can make out that he’s also absolutely handsome.

This morning was his first turn-out. Here he is taking in all the new sights.

Brilliant Decision is doing the quarantine that’s routine for all new arrivals, so he’s not getting hand-fed or touched on the tours yet, but if you schedule a visit in the next three weeks you can take a look at him and say hi to him in the barn. Which gelding herd he’ll eventually join hasn’t been decided yet, but whether he’s on the main tour route or in an outlying paddock accessible for private tours, a horse as friendly and kind as he is will enjoy your visits and attention.  I think Brilliant Decision’s real talent is love.

“Hey wow, what’s this Old Friends place all about?”

Old Friends is grateful to Lee Rossi for enabling Brilliant Decision’s new lifestyle with us, and to breeder Sally Thomas who kindly kept us in the loop about him and his late mom, whose final surviving son he is.

And while I’m posting my not-so-great snapshots, here’s one of another relative newcomer who’s been with us a few months but whose photo I haven’t yet included in a post.

Right to Vote, another really sweet guy, had a highly successful race career, earning more than half a million dollars and winning stakes races at Chuchill Downs, Oaklawn Park and Prairie Meadows for B J D Thoroughbreds, trained by Ron Moquett. However it happened, three years after his racing days ended, Right to Vote became an unwanted horse. Old Friends is grateful to Mr. Moquett who came to the rescue of the long, tall gelding and enabled his retirement to Old Friends.

Right to Vote

Right to Vote is a son of Political Force out of What a Knight by Tough Knight. He also happens to be a great-grandson of our much-loved former resident Glitterman (1985-2011). He’s joined the gelding herd that also includes Joey P, Racketeer and Geronimo.

While I’m at it about new guys, the latest about Diversify and Slim Shadey is that they’re now sharing a paddock across from Right to Vote & gang and are getting along nicely. So are Hogy and Soi Phet…you’d think we’ve turned into a retirement home just for tall, dark sweetheart geldings, but Silver Charm, Ide, Saudi Poetry and Alphabet Soup assure me that’s not so. Though temperatures are dropping, they all look forward to a visit from you. Come see them on our winter schedule, tours daily at 11:00 am, or schedule a private tour at whatever time’s best for you.



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November 4, 2019

Excellent achievement by Storm the Court, who won the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He did his grandpa Gulch proud!

And wow, has Touch Gold ever been getting congratulations around here! Not only did his great-grandson Spun to Run win the Dirt Mile, his grandson Vino Rosso won this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Touch Gold, who at 25 looks as if he could have won the Classic himself.


Eye of the Tiger is family too, like Vino Rosso having been bred by the Gunthers.

Our warmest congratulations to all our supporters who have connections with this year’s Breeders’ Cup champions! And no less to all those whose competitors ran equally valiant races! We’re prouder than we can express to be associated with you.

Our utmost sympathies go to the connections of Mongolian Groom. Racing, like skiing, football, eventing, surfing, and so many sports, will never be without risks. That doesn’t ever make a loss any easier. Yet, if the alternative were a world without the courage and spirit of Thoroughbreds–and without racing what would become of the 9.2 million in America?–that would be a world too destitute of beauty to contemplate. Instead, let us all do our best to continue to improve safety where we can and to provide for the flourishing of these magnificent animals during and after their racing careers.

photos by Laura


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October 29, 2019

This weekend is the 2019 Breeders’ Cup! This year’s championship races will be run Friday Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Here’s the Breeders’ Cup’s official information on ways to watch this year’s races and related events.

For Old Friends, this time of year has some special meanings. It’s a time to celebrate our Breeders’ Cup winning residents’ achievements.

Alphabet Soup, 1996 Classic


Amazombie, 2011 Sprint


Cajun Beat, 2003 Sprint

Eldaafer, 2010 Marathon


Little Mike, 2012 Turf

And it’s a time to honor the champion retirees of the past.

Black Tie Affair, 1991 Classic


Fraise, 1992 Turf


Gulch, 1988 Sprint


Precisionist, 1985 Sprint


Prized, 1989 Turf

To all of their connections who have entrusted us with their retirement, our heartfelt thanks. And to our wonderful supporters who have contenders this year, all of our very best hopes for safe trips, human and horse, and for lasting glory in the winner’s circle. We are enormously proud to have your confidence and support. To Breeders’ Cup, Limited, Old Friends extends our gratitude for your many kindnesses, past and present.

Alphabet Soup in the paddock preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic 1996. Photo by Laura Battles.


So, wondering who to back in this year’s races? Here’s one way to look at it. Forget the odds. Forget the works. Consider using the Old Friends Angle. It may or may not make you rich, but it’s fun, and it’s simple. Just cheer for Old Friends residents’ direct descendants.  Who are they this weekend? By race, time (ET), and post position, here are this weekend’s Old Friends Angle picks.


Juvenile Turf Sprint (4:12 p.m.)

4 Dream Shot – Gulch
(out of Miss Buckshot by Tamayuz by Nayef by Gulch)

7 Kimari – Ogygian
(out of Cozze Up Lady out of The White Lady by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and ancestor of current contenders, Gulch (1984-2016). Photo by Laura Battles.


Juvenile Turf (4:52 p.m.)

5 Vitalogy – Ogygian
(by No Nay Never by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

10 War Beast – Gulch
(out of Special One by Point Given by Thunder Gulch by Gulch)

12 Arizona – Ogygian
(also by No Nay Never by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

Ogygian (1983-2015). Photo by Beth Shannon.


Juvenile Fillies (5:32 p.m.)

8 K P Dreamin – Gulch
(out of Litigating by Point Given by Thunder Gulch by Gulch)


Juvenile Fillies Turf (6:12 p.m.)

3 Shadn – Ogygian
(by No Nay Never by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

8 Tango – Ogygian
(by No Nay Never by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

10 Fair Maiden – Ogygian
(by Street Boss out of Blushing Ogygian by Ogygian)

Ogygian deserves another picture at this point, wouldn’t you say? Photo by Laura Battles.


Juvenile (7:03 p.m.)

4 Storm the Court – Gulch
(by Court Vision by Gulch)

So does Gulch. Photo by Laura Battles.



Filly & Mare Sprint (2:55 p.m.)

5 Lady Ninja – Black Tie Affair
(out of Dressed to Kill by Formal Gold by Black Tie Affair)

8 Dawn the Destroyer – Marquetry
(out of Dashing Debby out of Marquet Rent by Marquetry)

Marquetry (1987-2013)


Turf Sprint (3:33 p.m.)

1 Totally Boss – Ogygian
(by Street Boss out of Blushing Ogygian by Ogygian)

2 Pure Sensation – Gulch
(out of Thunder Sexy by Thunder Gulch by Gulch)

8 Legends of War – Ogygian
(by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)


Dirt Mile (4:10 p.m.)

3 Spun to Run – Touch Gold
(out of Yakey Way out of Is Kylie Good by Touch Gold)

Touch Gold (a 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic competitor himself) is now 25 years old. Photo by Laura Battles.


Filly & Mare Turf (4:54 p.m.)

7 Vasilika – Marquetry
(out of La Belle Marquet by Marquetry)


Sprint (5:36 p.m.)

2 Hog Creek Hustle – Fortunate Prospect
(out of Candy Fortune out of Ready for Fortune out of Fortunate Card by Fortunate Prospect)

7 Whitmore – Ogygian
(out of Melody’s Spirit by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg out of Myth by Ogygian)

Fortunate Prospect (1981-2012), our original “Grandpa.”


Mile (6:20 p.m.)

6 Got Stormy – Kiri’s Clown
(by Get Stormy out of Foolish Gal by Kiri’s Clown)

Kiri’s Clown (1989-2014)


Distaff (7 p.m.)
(No direct descendants)


Turf (7:40 p.m.)
(No direct descendants)


Classic (8:44 p.m.)

10 Vino Rosso – Touch Gold
(out of Mythical Bride out of Flaming Heart by Touch Gold)

Touch Gold, photo by Laura Battles.

All of these Breeders’ Cup contender kids sure are doing their old grandpas proud!



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September 23, 2019

We’ve had a request for more photos of Slim Shadey. As it happens, Laura just took some this weekend, so…

Slim Shadey enjoys turn-out time

He’s still in the quarantine phase that all new arrivals go through, but new guys and girls in quarantine get to go out and play too, of course. He’s let us know he especially loves his turn-out time.

Slim Shadey

So, he’s obviously thinking, I see the people who come to visit feeding carrots to some other horses. How come when they admire me, talk and admiration is all I get?

But if he tries to tell you that his new life doesn’t include any treats, don’t believe it for a moment. Safety dictates careful procedures for a little while longer, but it doesn’t mean no love from the staff! Slim also lets us know he’s fond of the supplements snack he gets daily in addition to his regular feedings. Soon he’s expected to fully participate the tours, carrots from his admirers included.

Speaking of Laura’s photos from this weekend, while I’m at it, she caught Green Mask having a fantastic play session. He’s a lucky horse, and we’re lucky to get to share the joy he takes in life and in being able to impersonate the wind.

Green Mask

Our heartfelt thanks to Brad Cox, Mr. Almaddah, Dr. Richardson and all the rest of the staff at the New Bolton Center, and Dell Ridge Farm for saving his life and making such joy possible.


To see more wonderful photos of Greenie’s play session, go to the Old Friends Facebook page.

And one more follow-up. Einstein, who wasn’t sure at first that in his new paddock he’d still be spoiled as rotten as he demands to be and deserves to be, has decided he loves having all kinds of new space to run, graze and roll. He’s discovered he can dictate what goes on in the neighborhood of the barn, just as he’s done since he got here. He’s one happy, handsome horse.

Einstein makes sure everyone behaves themselves (does what he wants them to do).

photos by Laura

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September 12, 2019

This week has been moving week. We have one new guy on the block. Several longtime residents have changed paddocks.

First, a big welcome to Slim Shadey, who moved into Old Friends two days ago. This grand old gelding (now 11 years old) from England ran in Great Britain, then came to America at the age of four. On the West Coast he won three graded stakes, the 2012 San Marcos Stakes (G2), the John Henry Turf Championship (G2) and he repeated his San Marcos Stakes (G2) victory in 2013. In 2014 he won the Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth Park. He acquitted himself well in other graded stakes during those years, finishing second to future Old Friends retiree Little Mike in the 2012 Woodford Reserve and competing again with Little Mike in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Slim Shadey continued to race and earn until last month, for a career total of more than a million dollars. Now, owner Michael M. Hui and trainer Michael Maker have enabled his new life at Old Friends.

Though Slim Shadey is an Englishman by birth, his pedigree features many well-known American favorites:  Alysheba, Secretariat, Halo, Kiri’s Clown’s sire Foolish Pleasure, and Chief’s Crown.

By his first evening on the farm Slim Shadey had settled comfortably in. He’s curious about us, self-possessed, and every bit the old pro.

Slim Shadey says hello on his first evening at the farm. (Apologies for the blur. These my attempts at snapshots, so don’t blame Laura.)

Does he think this is another race track stall, I wonder? Just wait till he’s out of quarantine and discovers he’s in the land of blue grass and carrots! The routine quarantine for all new arrivals generally lasts 21 days, so if you’re in Lexington for next month’s Keeneland meet, come to Old Friends and feed Slim Shadey a carrot!

Amazombie (foreground) and Rapid Redux in their new paddock

The other moves are just from one paddock to another. The roster of horses you’re likely to see if you come for a tour hasn’t changed much, but you may be interested that Soi Phet and Hogy now live opposite Game On Dude and Little Mike.

Hogy (L) and Soi Phet now share the paddock where Amazombie and Rapid Redux used to be.

Both are friendly horses who have accomplished admirable feats on the track, and they’ll enjoy the extra love they’ll get in this key spot as much as their visitors will enjoy them. Amazombie and Rapid Redux have moved a few paddocks back and can still be visited on tours. If you want to see them be sure to mention them to your guide to make sure she or he takes that route.

Einstein in his new digs

Einstein is now in a great big paddock we hope he’ll love, next to the barn and across from Green Mask by day and Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George by night. For those of you who are familiar with the farm, it’s the paddock where Danthebluegrassman and Flick lived for many years.

Into his first evening there, Einstein was still scoping it out after dinner on Tuesday.

Einstein: “Ok, it’s got a waterer, a feed tub, a run-in shed, all my favorite amenities…”

So where did Diversify settle in after his newcomer’s quarantine? Right up front, across from Ide. That is, the lakeside spot next to Sun King.

Whitney Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Diversify

The geese who like to visit Sun King in the evenings have already made themselves at home with Diversify, as well. That’s fine with him.

Other moves that have been made, or soon will be, don’t affect the tours. I’ll post a blog about those shortly. But for today I’ll finish by celebrating one of the most successful, happiest, most wonderful moves made in recent months. This was when Bourbonize moved in with Johannesburg Smile. Frankly, we were a little worried whether Johannesburg Smile, gelded at age 10, would ever accept a paddock mate. Several horses were tried without success. He wasn’t nice to any of them. But look at him now!

Johannesburg Smile (L) and Bourbonize, who have now been bonding for two months

I think Bourbonize also feels he’s finally found the perfect buddy.


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July 31, 2019

We’re having a great summer here at Old Friends in Kentucky. Some short heat waves have come through, but much of June and July has been pleasantly sunny and breezy, like today. It’s a perfect time to relax with a visit to admire some of the greatest former athletes in the world.

Game On Dude and Little Mike

Like Game On Dude and Little Mike. These two deservedly popular stars, now twelve years old apiece, hold court in their big paddock near the front of the farm where they greet all who come and go. Literally. From their position on both the entry and exit routes for each tour, they often come over to spend time with their fans at the beginning of the tour, then just happen to be on the other side of their paddock as those same folks head back down at the end of the tour.

“Hi, we’re Dude and Mike, have we met before?

Silver Charm, War Emblem, Alphabet Soup & Gorgeous George, Einstein, Afternoon Deelites and his son Popcorn Deelites (alias “Seabiscuit”), Little Silver Charm, and all the gang are having a great time meeting, greeting, making new friends and renewing their ties with longtime friends. We also have some new stars who, at least at the moment, are all on the main tour route. (I say “at the moment” because we’re doing some shifting of horses into different paddocks. Any visit to the farm may introduce you to an unexpected horse or reunite you with an old buddy you haven’t seen for awhile.)

New stars just settling into retirement and the role of meeters and greeters, include:


A youngster by our standards, six year old Diversify earned nearly $2 million in 16 starts, including the Saginaw Stakes at Belmont Park, the Evan Shipman Stakes at Saratoga, the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Suburban, and the Whitney. Pretty amazing list of honors. And by the way, he also won the Commentator Stakes (wonder who that race was named for?). Diversify is a big darkish bay gelding with a profile that suggests strong character. His retirement at Old Friends was enabled by his racing owners, Lauren Evans and her father Ralph M. Evans.


Another of our wonderful new guys goes by the unassuming name of Hogy.


But a name doesn’t always say it all. Ten year old Hogy won more than $1 million in his eight year race career. Starting his stakes wins with the Brian Barenscheer Juvenile Stakes at Canterbury Park, he moved on to take the Hansel at Turfway, the Hanshin at Arlington, the Troy and Presque Isle in New York, the Colonel Power at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, the Kentucky Downs Sprint, Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint at Sam Houston, and Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream. Besides all that, he’s a sweet guy with a beautiful face who we’ve fallen in love with from his first day with us.



The newest kid on the block is Soi Phet.

Soi Phet

Pronounced “soy fet,” his name is no new one to his big fan base in southern California, or to lots of race fans all over the country, come to that. Soi Phet, eleven year old son of Tiznow’s full brother Tizbud, isn’t a big guy like his uncle. He’s a deceptively elegant, refined looking guy. “Deceptively” because he was one sturdy warrior on the track. He just about owned the Los Alamitos racecourse. He won two runnings of the Bertrando Stakes there, the Los Alamitos Mile, two consecutive E.B. Johnston Stakes, as well as the McCann’s Mojave Handicap and Crystal Water Stakes at Santa Anita, and the Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar. If you’re wondering if he’s also a millionaire, the answer is a resounding yes. Beloved of fans, of his race owners the Benowitz family, Mathilde Powell and Paul Viskovich, and trainer Leonard Powell, Soi Phet is settling into his Kentucky retirement with beautiful grace and poise.


So if you can, run to Old Friends to meet our wonderful new stars, all of whom can currently be seen on the regular tours.

Touch Gold running to greet his visitors

Or, if you’d rather, schedule a private tour and visit our delightfully sweet new ladies, Saudi Poetry and Silver Charm’s daughter, Classy Charm. Their paddock is too far to get to during the time allotted for regular tours, but they love visitors too.

Saudi Poetry
Classy Charm

photos by Laura


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July 15, 2019

We’ve had a sizzlin’, jumpin’ five day weekend at Old Friends.  This year’s Breyerfest at the Kentucky Horse Park concluded yesterday. It’s always a huge gathering of horse lovers from just about everywhere, and we’re fortunate to be a favorite side trip for many attendees. Others learn about us for the first time at our booth at Breyerfest, which this year in the 90 degree weather was staffed by Ken and Joyce (and maybe other steadfast souls of whom I’m not aware). This Breyerfest we were delighted to have many guests at the farm who said it was their first visit with us. Tour guides pitched in for double shifts, and the horses did their bit with their usual kindness and grace.

Nicanor sees visitors coming!


The horses are in laid-back summer mode. Nicanor is more into those group back scratches than ever. Touch Gold is ambling over at a lazy canter instead of a full charge, and our comedian team Popcorn Deelites and Special Ring are sauntering over at their leisure rather than waiting already in position, though once they arrive they’re doing their schtick with the usual flourishes. They know it inspires extra carrots, which go down nicely on a summer day.

Little Mike quite agrees.


So does Comma to the Top.

The geese have pretty much raised their crop of goslings, who are now old enough to party. Unlike Touch Gold (click the sidebar for last April 11’s blog), Sun King and Old Friends Stakes winner Kalamos both happily play host to family expeditions away from the pond.

Kalamos and friends

Nobiz Like Shobiz does not. But he sure knows how to look gorgeous.

Nobiz Like Shobiz

And sometimes Cherono looks so much like his grandpa Ogygian it brings a lump to my throat.


By the way, Cherono is the reigning leader of his herd, and one of the kindest herd leaders on the farm. Here you see him with his good friends (L to R) Lion Hunter, W. C. Jones and the very distinguished Rail Trip.

One paddock beyond theirs, new resident Hogy is seeing if he bonds well with Cost Affective, Rathor and Bunker’s Edge. If not, a new living arrangement will be tried. Tim and Carole are careful to make sure that paddock companions make a compatible fit. I apologize for not having a photo of Hogy. He’s a good looking guy with a strong resemblance to his close relative, Sarava. (Hogy’s taller though).

Cost Affective and Bunker’s Edge


We love it when everybody gets along (Game On Dude & Little Mike. Sarava in the background)

Summer is a good time for dust baths.

He Loves Me Not has a dustbath.

…and a shake-off.

So come on over to Old Friends this summer and hang out with us!


photos by Laura


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July 8, 2019

We had an amazing weekend at Old Friends.
Saturday was Wise Dan Day!

Wise Dan
Horse of the Year 2012 & 2013

Thanks to the generosity of Charlie and Amy LoPresti, the two-time Horse of the Year made a personal appearance at Old Friends’ party in his honor to benefit our retirees.

For many of his fans it was as much a reunion as a celebration of his greatness. Dan’s home track was Keeneland, just down the road. In his four-year race career he often thrilled us there and at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Wise Dan and Amy

As Saturday approached we’d sold many tickets. Our anticipation grew. At last, the day arrived. Worries about rain dispelled under a bright summer sky. At 1:30, as the 1:00 tour was visiting Game On Dude and Little Mike, up the drive rolled the LoPrestis’ trailer. And who was gazing out the window but the champion himself.

Little Mike raised his head, looking at him as if to say, “Hey, about that 2012 Male Turf Championship award…” Wise Dan and Little Mike never raced each other since they specialized in different distances, but they did meet briefly at a ceremony in the Churchill Downs paddock honoring 2012 Breeders’ Cup winners Wise Dan (Turf Mile), Little Mike (Turf), Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint), and Fort Larned (Classic). But this Saturday Wise Dan had places to go and people to meet. He rolled on up the hill.

Wise Dan’s trailer arrives as the 1:00 tour looks on from behind.
Wise Dan takes in his surroundings

He unloaded, got comfortably settled in, and at 2:00 the gate opened and the party began.

As you can see, at 12 years old Wise Dan is absolutely superb. Three other qualities about this horse stand out immediately and powerfully. His intelligence, his strong bond with his trainer Charlie and Amy with whom he makes his permanent home (as does his multiple graded stakes winning half-brother, Successful Dan), and his remarkable blend of high spirits and kindness.

In case you missed his race career and wonder what all the fuss is about, get this:

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry – Lisa Danielle by Wolf Power (SAF)) was bred (2007) and raced by Morton Fink and trained by Charlie LoPresti. He was American Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013. He also took Champion Turf Male and Older Dirt Male honors in both those years. That’s six Eclipse Championship awards in all.

He broke his maiden at Turfway in his second start, won an allowance race at Churchill Downs, then went to Keeneland for his first stakes win in the Phoenix (G3) in October 2010. (I was there and bet on him. I never saw him go off at long odds again.) At 4 he won the Firecracker Handicap (G2) at Churchill (also in the field was future OF retiree Lubash). That year Wise Dan also won the Presque Isle Downs Mile, Fayette Stakes (G2) and Clark Handicap (G2). At five he won the Ben Ali (G3), Fourstardave Handicap (G2), Woodbine Mile (G1), Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. At 6 he won the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), Woodford Reserve (G1), Firecracker Handicap (G2), Fourstardave Handicap (G2), Woodbine Mile (G1), Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and at 7 the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), Woodford Reserve (G1), Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)—whew!

Hall-of-Famer Silver Charm and future Hall-of-Famer Wise Dan eye each other with curiosity
Wise Dan meets, and is reunited with, his fans.
Dan gets love from another fan
Wise Dan, Charlie and Michael

After some time with his fans outdoors, Dan and the rest of us retired to cooler quarters in the barn, where Dan continued to greet his many friends up close, posed for photos with them, and got a few carrots into the bargain.

It was great of Wise Dan and his human family to stay with us for two full hours. It made for the perfect party, never too crowded at any one time but with a steady stream of fun and interesting people for Dan to meet.

Lexington’s Channel 18 covered the event, and Wise Dan’s visit to Old Friends featured on the NBC Sports Network that night. Though other stars, even two Triple Crown winners, have come along since his racing days, Wise Dan remains a legend.

Bye, Dan! Have a wonderful summer. You’re always welcome to visit us any time!

photos by Laura

Watch Wise Dan set a track record winning the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile

Wise Dan’s thrilling 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile

5 minute feature about Wise Dan from the Keeneland Magazine, Spring 2013


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June 20, 2019

We’ve had a lot of rain this month, but on a balmy June evening a week ago as I walked the farm with my iPad I happened on this moment.

Seen through a curtain of late sunrays, Alphabet Soup decides on the perfect spot for a refreshing roll in the dust. At 28 years old the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is a bit cautious about the smoothest way to lie down, but he sure does know how to make a jaunty exit.

If you’re a repeat reader of this blog, or a follower of Old Friends on Twitter and Facebook, or of photographer, tour guide, and worldwide race attendee Laura Battles on Facebook, you have a good idea of what the Georgetown Farm is like after the last tour leaves and the farm closes for the evening. The beautiful golden light in so many of Laura’s photos attest to how many hours she spends with the horses after-hours, with her camera at the ready. And—as the horses all know—her carrot bucket is also at the ready, especially for the residents pastured off the main tour route. Here are a few glimpses of Laura at work on a summer evening. For this session a week ago, she was joined by a second photographer, events volunteer Kurt.

Shutters click as Skip’s World (the grey), 1996 Queen’s Plate winner Victor Cooley (dark bay wearing a fly mask) and younger fellow Canadian, El Brujo, come to see what’s up. If you’re not familiar with fly masks, Skip and Victor can see perfectly well through them – they’re mesh. They just do what the name implies, keep flies out of a horse’s eyes. Some of our residents like wearing them in the summer, some prefer not to.

We especially wanted to get photos and a video clip of our two new girlfriends, Silver Charm’s very sweet daughter, multiple stakes winner Classy Charm (bay), and impressive multiple graded stakes winner Saudi Poetry (chestnut). Laura’s photos were more successful than the video, I think, and I’ll post some when available.

These two ladies will be moving to a different paddock before long. Though they won’t be on the front of the farm because the stallions behave much more nicely when there are no nearby mares to show off for, the two will be available for visits by private tours. When this clip was taken they were coexisting peacefully, as you see here. Making friends takes more time, but as of a few days ago these two have started to really make friends.

Here’s a clip for all those folks who may think the horses off the main tour route don’t get lots of lovin’, too. Laura and Kudos.

And here’s 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, Sarava. I know he’s quite familiar, very much on the beaten path of the tours, and he’s also not doing anything in particular in this video, but he’s so handsome by sunset that I just had to include him.



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June 2, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

On Monday friends and supporters gathered to remember the horses who passed over the last year. The forecasted rain did not arrive, the weather was kindly cool, and the mood was gentle and loving. Mary Simon’s eulogies reminded us of the highlights of each horse’s career and honored each as a unique, and irreplacable, individual, and Vivian Morrison shared her loving tribute to late Old Friends volunteer Bea Snyder.

Afterward, attendees’ hearts were lifted as they visited the living horses, who didn’t at all mind cheering their admirers with their majestic kindness (Silver Charm), clowning (Special Ring and Popcorn Deelites), bravado (War Emblem), youthful fun (Game On Dude and Little Mike), and venerable wisdom (Alphabet Soup, Dinard).

Among the written memories shared with us by attendees were these poignant testimonials to the love and inspiration that the unique beauty, openness and courage of a horse can inspire.


Danthebluegrassman a.k.a. Danny Boy was my favorite, since my 1st visit in 2009. He remained my favorite throughout the years & I was blessed to visit him 6 times. He never failed to leave his slobber kisses on my shirt, which I loved. He will always remain in my heart. Thank you to everyone at Old Friends for all you do.
Pattie, Pickens, South Carolina

When Joyce and I first started volunteering at OF I was attempting to do a rudimentary repair on his paddock fence. I had zero knowledge of race horses other than to handicap them. Dan came over to where I was working to my uneasyness with him in my face, MR CURIOUS! He started my love of these amazing animals as more than just an athlete running in races.
Ken, Lexington, Kentucky


Genuine Reward

My sister Doreen & I live in NYC, but we love horses!! We have been coming to Lexington for 6 years now to enjoy the farms. Doreen passed away on April 3, 2019 and I am here honoring her.
Your dam, the truly brilliant & beautiful Genuine Risk, was one of our favorite race horses of all time. When Nancy Hapgood brought us to Old Friends we cried with joy to see you!!
P. S., You are frolicking with your beautiful mother Genuine Risk—& I know you are kissing my sister Doreen right now. Enjoy the flowers I left for you. It’s hard for people to visit Lexington who don’t drive, but we always loved seeing you. RIP!
Don, New York City


Regal Sanction

I’ll never forget my first sight of Regal Sanction in 2012, standing at the top of “his” hill, next to his trees with his gorgeous mane & tail blowing in the breeze. He spied us & immediately began coming to us, thrilling me, though I’m sure he was mostly anticipating carrots! It was love at first sight & I believe he knew from that moment. I immediately went to Pinkston’s and ordered him a gorgeous stud halter, which was actually too heavy for him to wear. I brought it back & presented it to him—he knew it was his!! On subsequent visits I just spent all of my time visiting him—he would hang out next to me the whole time, let me pet him & talk to him. I believe he truly understood how much I loved him & always will. I was truly blessed to know him. I now wear a locket holding hairs from his tail & will always cherish it. He was one of the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen & will always be in my heart. I truly hope we may have more time together on the other side.
Sue, Sun Valley, Idaho


Silver Ray

Silver Ray was the most gentle, sweet, amiable horse I’ve ever known. From our first visit here, he became our favorite. We always made sure that he would be on the tour.
Mike  and Debbi, Chilhowie, Virginia

These horses’ lives were celebrated this Memorial Day. Geri and Yankee Fortune will be honored next Memorial Day.

Main farm residents

A P Valentine
Bint Marscay
Genuine Reward
Highland Ack (Landy)
I’m Charismatic
Lusty Latin
Napoli Express
Ready’s Rocket
Regal Sanction
Silver Ray

our other locations

Black Tie Countess
Driven By Success
Say Florida Sandy

We will never forget them.

photos by Laura



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