April 18, 2022

We are saddened by the passing of two of Old Friends’ most senior residents, Zippy Chippy at OF at Cabin Creek in New York, and River Squall at the main Kentucky farm. Zippy Chippy was 31. River Squall died on his 28th birthday.

Zippy Chippy (April 20, 1991 – April 15, 2022)
(photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography)

Zippy Chippy was one of Old Friends’ biggest stars. Not because he was a great racehorse but because during his decade-long career he became the most notoriously bad racehorse of his time. In 100 starts he never won one single race. At first he was just another try-hard on the New York tracks. As a youngster he finished third twice at Belmont and seemed set to become an ordinary inexpensive claiming horse, those hard-working athletes who make up most of the game but seldom get much notice as individuals. But as he continued to try without ever, ever winning, people began to pay attention. People like an underdog who keeps trying, and Zippy Chippy was the ultimate hard worker as well as the ultimate underdog. Few horses stay on the track for ten years, and fewer still run a grueling 100 races. Zippy Chippy was a tough customer, made of sterner stuff than just about any horse in the game.

If Seabiscuit, the gritty underdog who succeeded, was the perfect hero for the 1930s, Zippy Chippy, the survivor who got taken down time after time but always got up and kept trying, was a fitting hero for our times. As his motto says, “Winners don’t always finish first.”

Zippy Chippy with his friend, Red Down South

Because finally, Zippy was a winner. In retirement he became Old Friends at Cabin Creek’s most beloved character. Two books were written about him, one even available in German! He found his best buddy ever, Red Down South (when Zippy spent one summer at the Georgetown farm Red came with him). He got to boss around Joann and the other folks at Cabin Creek to his heart’s content. As Joann said, “He taught me so much about life, and I’ll miss him forever.”

*

River Squall (April 15, 1994 – April 15, 2022)
(photo by Laura Battles)

River Squall wasn’t famous, but he was a seriously good racehorse, winner of the 1997 Saranac Stakes (G3) and Hawthorne Derby (G3). And for the barn staff and tour guides, he was a much-loved presence in his stall or his turnout area that he could use at will through the back door of his stall. He had this arrangement because a condition that inhibited his ability to sweat made it part of his wellbeing to always have access to shelter and cool whenever he wanted it.

River Squall in 2019
(photo by Laura Battles)

This is why I couldn’t make a “Remembering” slide show video for him. Because he was indoors much of the time there aren’t a lot of photos of him. He did spend plenty of time in his outside run, but that tended to be in early mornings and in the evening. However! If you visited Old Friends in Kentucky at any time from 2018 on, I can almost guarantee you met River Squall and remember him. He was the dark bay stallion who never let a tour go through the barn without banging, making a ruckus for attention and carrots, and always demanding even more. River Squall was sort of tough, but he loved attention and admiration.

River Squall in 2021
(photo by Laura Battles)

One person who will always remember River with especial love is former staff member John Bradley. And River was fond of John, who often wet him down when he was hot—being wet was River’s favorite thing ever—and played tongue-pulling games with him. Some horses really get into tongue-pulling. John recalled how whenever he’d walk by River’s stall, the stallion would stick out his tongue at him. Though River started out his retirement a toughie, he decided he liked us and mellowed into one of the most loved characters on the farm. That barn just doesn’t seem the same without our River Squall.

Beth

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March 26, 2022

Winston, the miniature horse at Old Friends at Ashton Grove, is a busy guy. He spends many of his evenings visiting with the human residents of Ashton Grove Senior Living Community, but he also makes time for the exercise program his vet recommended for him. Here he is taking an evening drive with his owner, Old Friends volunteer Christy Cassady. Sharing the evening with them are retired racehorses Daytona, Porfido, Massone, Secret Getaway and Ireland’s Eye.

Ireland’s Eye, Porfido and Massone watch with curiosity as Winston drives by

Before you enjoy the vid, I want to say a word about Christy. Though technically a volunteer, she works as hard, and has shouldered as much responsibility, as the paid staff members. Besides taking care of Winston, she contributes significant labor and love to the care of the big horses. And that’s in addition to her day job. (Hope you don’t mind, Christy. I just had to give a shout out.) Old Friends is hugely fortunate in the quality and dedication of its volunteer workers!

Winston Takes a Spin

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March 10, 2022

Ferocious Won (2003-2022)
Lite the Fuse – Shawklit Ruse (Air Forbes Won)

He had a tough constitution to run 91 races and win 14 of them, including two stakes. But ferocious he was not. He was one of the sweetest horses ever to grace Old Friends.

Ferocious Won was a New York-bred and he competed on the New York tracks, from Belmont to Aqueduct to Saratoga to a long stint during the last years of his career at Finger Lakes. In fact his only races outside his home state were two claiming competitions at Delaware Park, one of which he won. His New York wins include the 2006 Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont and the 2006 New York Derby at Finger Lakes. He peaked at three, but he continued to pound the tracks through age ten.

He’s not famous. You won’t find his obituary in the Blood-Horse or his two proudest wins on Youtube. But we loved him and are sad that he succumbed to a persistent hock infection. He’s the kind of horse who doesn’t claim a lot of noisy attention but who touches your heart.

He sure won us over from the moment he set foot on the farm. For one thing, he was as pretty a horse as we’ve ever known, fiery red, finely made and gracefully balanced, with a beautiful head and kind eye.

He also had a distinctive white patch on his right side.

He immediately demonstrated that pretty is as pretty does. He was friendly, gentle, and loved to be petted. We fell in love immediately.

Ferocious Won was popular with the other horses, too. Always willing to let others play the boss of whatever herd he was in, he was peaceful, the kind of easy going good company that the other horses sought out.

Ferocious Won with Summer Attraction

Ferocious Won with Early Pioneer (1995-2018)

with Cougar Bait and Stormy Passage

Hard as it is when any of the horses pass, it’s harder when the horse is only 19 and hardest of all when he earned, and deserved, more than the 9 years of retirement he enjoyed. His bright-eyed, sweet ways cannot be replaced. We miss him, and always will.

Later note:  What do you know! A determined search actually did find Ferocious Won winning, not a stakes but a work-a-day claiming race at Aqueduct at age 8. It’s got such an excitingly close photo finish that I almost hesitate to give you the spoiler that he won. The resolution isn’t high definition, but it’s worth watching. This ordinary race shows as clearly as any championship the meaning of spirit, determination and heart.
Scroll down to race 5 and click the video replay link to see a hero at work.

https://www.nytbreeders.org/racing/ny-bred-winners.cfm?date=2/27/2011

I also found this 17 second video of Ferocious Won being trotted on a lead at Finger Lakes in 2013, his last year on the track. When he turns you can see his face and it’s definitely him. You never know what you’ll find until you look. But Old Friends could look forever and never find a horse sweeter than Ferocious Won.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzL4wr7n3vI

Beth
photos by Laura

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February 24, 2022

Affirmed Success (1994-2022)

The passing of Affirmed Success last week was a profound change, the going of one of the foundations of Old Friends. It wasn’t just that he’d been with us since 2007. Or that he was the last of Affirmed’s greatest sons. It was who he was.

I have been in awe of Affirmed Success, from his racing days when I never missed a race of his on TVG, through his early retirement when he greeted every tour in the paddock now belonging to Arson Squad and Fightingcityhall, through his long, courageous battle against the persistent foot infections that finally claimed his life. Not that he was ever demanding. That wasn’t his way. He was a good looking horse, but not flashy except for the rich red in his coat. He was a true liver-bay. During races he was a pro, businesslike, efficient and incredibly fast. When the really, really good ones are on their game—and Affirmed Success stayed on his game year after year—watching them win is like the pleasure of a foregone conclusion confirmed.

Preparing for a Breeders’ Cup bid, 1999.
photo by Laura

On his retirement, owner Albert Fried, Jr., placed him down the road from us at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he took part in the breeds parade representing the Thoroughbred. Later, Mr. Fried judged that the lifestyle at Old Friends would be a better fit for his status and temperament, so Affirmed Success came to live with us in September 2007.

I was thrilled but wondered how he’d do with children and such, since he had a bit of a reputation. Like many forward, speedy horses he was said to have an edge. Though at the Horse Park he’d been called Yankee for his achievements on the New York circuit, on the track he’d had the nickname Gator, and for exactly the reason you’d think. But he got off the trailer, took a look around, and from that day was mannerly, kind, and wonderful at meeting and greeting his tours. There was a matter-of-fact quality about him, and a self-containment, as if he had plenty of thoughts and opinions about everything that happened around him but would keep those to himself, thank you. He did let us know without reservation, though, that he liked the lazy pace of his new life, and enjoyed the attention and treats from his visitors.

But he demonstrated one thing dramatically. He did not like his first paddock mate, Futural. That feeling was mutual. They didn’t just ignore each other, they quarreled aggressively. When they seemed unable to settle their differences they were separated. They were put with different horses in neighboring paddocks. From the moment they were parted both began a campaign of protest, ignoring their new paddock mates to hang by the fences nearest each other and neigh back and forth. So, they were put together again and remained inseparable for nearly a decade.

With Futural in early morning fog, 2009.
photo by Beth

Futural loved bananas. In those days many tour guides’ buckets contained carrots for most of the horses, a pear for Creator, and a banana for Futural. Affirmed Success didn’t care for bananas, but he’d demand a small piece of Futural’s. Buddies share.

To Affirmed Success, the best treat in the world was a peppermint. On one tour a very nice woman told me she’d really come to see just one horse, Affirmed Success, because her cousin, Richard Schosberg, had trained him. She’d brought him peppermints and told me that in his racing days her cousin gave the pony rider a small bag of them to slip to him during the post parade so he’d behave on the way to the gate. Of course, Richard Schosberg and his jockey, Richard Migliore, made visits to him over the years. So did many fans, the real race fans who would never forget his feats on the track.

Affirmed Success, May 2020.
photo by Laura

Gator. Yankee. Funny thing about nicknames. At Old Friends he was always Affirmed Success. Even when we called him over across the paddock it rarely was anything else. It was a mark of both respect and love. Though friendly and usually patient with us, he cooperated because he chose to. That was clear. And, I think, because he liked life at Old Friends.

As the foot infections became increasingly problematic, it became in his best interest to move him into a less strenuous herd. Though this meant parting from his old friend Futural, Affirmed Success adjusted well, soon making best friends with Kudos, also a veteran of considerable accomplishments and like Affirmed Success, an intelligent, spirited horse who’d had to adjust to a more sedate lifestyle than he’d have liked (Kudos has survived two bouts of EPM). Though there are younger, more active horses in that herd, Affirmed Success and Kudos held sway over them all in some ways. The two usually grazed together and nobody dared mess with either of them.

With Kudos
photos by Laura

Though Affirmed Success had debilitating bouts with his sore foot, his spirits and appetite remained good. He received special care over the years from equine podiatrist Dr. Bryan Fraley and his team, and Dr. Scott Fleming. Watching their skill and ingenuity with him was amazing. It is a tribute to them, as well as to the willpower and patience of the horse himself, that the infections were overcome for long periods when Affirmed Success would graze at ease and come cantering up with the herd at meal times. That photo of him cantering happily along in the slide show isn’t from early days. It’s from 2020. Looking into his eyes made two things clear. His strength. And his ability to take each day as it came. Does it make any sense to call a horse a realist? Because that’s what Affirmed Success seemed to be.

In his senior years, besides the companionship of Kudos, Affirmed Success got particular care and love from stallion manager Antonio Marin as well as volunteer Joyce Patci, whose affection he returned.

It was Affirmed Success himself who decided when it was time to let go. Horses can’t talk, but they manage to communicate pretty well. Characteristically without fuss, Affirmed Success did things on his own terms. He let us know the time had come. His leaving took from us one of the most constant and courageous presences that has ever graced us.

Remembering Affirmed Success

Affirmed Success wins the Carter H (G1) at 8 years old
(watch the red silks in stalking position)

Beth

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January 31, 2022

Remembering Alphabet Soup

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January 29, 2022

Alphabet Soup
March 31, 1991 – January 28, 2022

He was a bright spot in the world. A star on the track. A beautiful horse, technically grey but nearly white, with harmoniously pleasing proportions and expressive dark eyes. An exceptionally kind horse who brought happiness wherever he went.

The field for the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic was impressive, with Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, Belmont winner Editor’s Note, Will’s Way and Formal Gold. Even so, many reckoned the race belonged to the great Cigar, who was attempting to become the first winner of two runnings of this championship race. Forwardly placed, Alphabet Soup and Chris McCarron contributed to a fast pace, and sure enough in the final stretch here came Cigar and Jerry Bailey. Cigar knew who was the horse to beat. Of all those contending for the lead it was Alphabet Soup whose strides and rhythm me matched, powering up to blow on by. But Alphabet Soup seemed to say, “No you don’t! Not today!” as he hurled his heart and soul into a final effort that carried him across the finish line first.

At stud, Alphabet Soup sired some Grade I winners, but he will carry on through pedigrees as an influential broodmare sire. He stood at multiple locations at Adena Springs. When he was in Kentucky I knew more than one breeder who went to him because he conferred on his progeny both talent and his kind disposition.

He retired to Old Friends in October 2015. Actually, Frank Stronach honored Old Friends by entrusting us with both the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and 1997 Belmont Stakes victor Touch Gold. Two more different personalities would be hard to imagine. Touch Gold established who he was by trying to scare us. Alphabet Soup put on no such show. He settled in with exceptional friendliness and intelligence about his new job as a host to visitors. It was a perfect third career for him because he truly loved people. He seemed to revel in sharing good will and kindness.

During the next six and a half years he greeted many of his considerable fan following and made as many new friends—even winning over quite a few Cigar fans. Chris McCarron was a frequent visitor. One afternoon he brought his newborn grandchild to meet “Soupie,” who stood seriously as if he understood the importance of the moment. But there didn’t have to be a reason. Horse and jockey continued their friendship throughout Alphabet Soup’s life.

Years passed in sun and green grass, snow and winter hay. Soup had health issues as he aged but bounced back and remained cheerful, enjoying life as it came. It might seem nothing new could happen, certainly nothing of life-changing importance. But then George came to live at Old Friends. George is a miniature donkey. When staff member James Crump’s father died, leaving George an “orphan,” finding a new home for him proved difficult and the Crump family worried about his future. Bring him to Old Friends, Michael suggested. So George moved into a pen that happened to be behind Alphabet Soup’s pasture. It was love at first sight. The Breeders’ Cup winner and the small donkey, nearly all ears, hung out together as close to their respective fence lines as they could get to one another. When George was led past Soup’s stall both stretched their necks, yearning to be together. It was impossible to ignore their wishes. Alphabet Soup was a stallion and stallions are territorial, and donkeys have a powerful kick, so they were joined gradually with utmost care. A pen was erected in the middle of Soup’s paddock, and George did his turnout time inside it. This went peacefully, but the two weren’t satisfied. They wanted to really be together.

Under supervision from a whole bunch of us, George at last entered Alphabet Soup’s paddock for real. The two were ecstatic. Immediately they trotted together and played together. Soup suddenly seemed ten years younger.

Their bond stayed close. Soup was on a 12 hour stall, 12 hour outdoors schedule, and their turn-in and turn-out became a favorite sight on the farm and often a feature of the last tour of the afternoon, the nearly white stallion walking on a lead, the pintsized donkey needing none. Wherever Soup went, George went. Sometimes George took his own sweet time, pausing to visit some of the other horses in the barn, but wherever his best friends was, was always his destination.

For the last few years Alphabet Soup’s age and health issues have increased. For a long time he has been frail. But his expression was happy and he remained fully engaged in all that happened. I think it was George who kept him in love with life for so long. Alphabet Soup achieved the remarkable age of 31.

We’ll miss him, his kindness, the grace with which he conducted himself. His life was as unusually distinguished as it was long. It was truly a life well-lived.

Beth
photos by Laura

A “Remembering Alphabet Soup” slide show will follow soon.

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January 21, 2022

Popcorn Deelites
(April 19, 1998 – January 19, 2022)
Afternoon Deelites – Turquoise Gal (Navajo)

On the racetrack he was just a cheap claiming horse. Usually his tag was less than $5000, but gave the game his best and won 11 of his 58 races. His hooves pounded tracks from Chicago to Louisville to Arkansas to Iowa to West Virginia to Northern Kentucky to all over the Southwest. At Turf Paradise he had a 5 race win streak.

But his big moment came in 2002 when at age 4 he landed the title role in the movie Seabiscuit. He wasn’t the only horse to play the great Seabiscut. Several were used in various scenes. Popcorn’s specialty was the starting gate scenes. He appears loading into the gate, suspensefully waiting for it to open, and bursting out when race begins to the thunder of hooves and cheering of the crowds. In one of those scenes he got a great close-up, standing in the gate and sizing up the track and the race he was about to run.

But Popcorn’s moment of glory came in the only race in the film where there was no starting gate. War Admiral’s owner, Samuel Riddle, knew his horse was apt to act up in the gate, which could disadvage the triple crown winner at the start of the race, so Riddle negotiated an old fashioned start with no gate. When that race filmed no shots were planned for Popcorn Deelites. But luck can prove stronger than foresight. Or, the heart of a Thoroughbred can. Despite the best efforts of the director, wrangler, and Chris McCarron playing War Admiral’s jockey, the “actor” playing War Admiral refused to lose the race. But the story didn’t go that way. Seabiscuit had to win. Popcorn Deelites to the rescue! Gary Stevens mounted him and he stepped won handily over the by-then tiring horse playing War Admiral.

So, that greatest scene in the whole movie, the signature slow motion finish where big music swells and the crowd goes crazy while Seabiscuit flies victoriously across the finish line and you want to cry for gladness? In that glorious moment Seabiscuit is Popcorn Deelites.

The movie was a sensational hit. For many who have never been to a racetrack, when they think of the beauty and prowess of a great horse, the image that flashes across their minds is Popcorn Deelites.

Meanwhile, Popcorn himself went back to the track, not in a fantasy world where beautiful Keeneland was Pimlico and he was a champion with a hall-of-fame jockey on his back, but to the gritty inland West circuit where he was just a hard knocking claimer. He continued racing through age 7, when then-owner David Hoffman and trainer Priscilla Leon recognized that as a movie star, Popcorn would be a natural for a combination retirement and second career at Old Friends. He could take it easy while greeting Seabiscuit’s fans.

He proved good at retirement, a kind, cooperative horse who bonded easily with his first paddock mate, 1992 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Fraise. After Fraise’s passing in 2005, Pops was paired with the new arrival, turf ace Special Ring. At first the two didn’t like each other much. In his youth, Ringy could be fierce, and he bullied Pops at times. When I began doing tours in 2006 we guides made sure we had a few Apple Wafers treats, which were thicker and harder to chew than they are now. We’d slip those to Special Ring and chewing them would keep him too busy to push Pops away from the carrots and admirers. Because in those days it was Popcorn who got all the attention from most visitors. Pops handled tours like a pro, always coming over to say hello, always delighted with the company and treats. And Pops was Seabiscuit! He enjoyed his fame immensely. So much so that Special Ring, who’d been a far better racehorse, eventually invented his tattoo trick trying to upstage the movie star. As the two matured, Ring mellowed and treated Pops kindly. They were inseparable.

For a long, happy decade and a half, Popcorn Deelites & Special Ring did their routine from three to many times a day, depending on the season, and lazed, and between their performances they grazed and played together. They never tired of their job, or of each other.

Special Ring lets us know he misses Pops. He doesn’t have to speak to make that clear. But Ringy was always the strong, steady one of the pair. At age 25 I hope he still has years and good times ahead of him.

All of us humans who spent happy times with Pops will always miss his kind-natured, sometimes quirky, ways. We are inconsolable that he didn’t recover. Old Friends without Popcorn Deelites is almost unthinkable. Who would have thought a funny little horse could make such a huge place in our hearts?

Beth

Remembering Popcorn Deelites

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November 24, 2021

Albert the Great
(May 7, 1997 – November 19, 2021)

Albert the Great, a son of 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin  and Bright Feather by Fappiano, was bred in Kentucky by Albert Clay. Owned by Tracy Farmer, he was trained by Nick Zito who had trained his dad. The handsome compact colt liked to grab the lead and keep it all the way around. He won the 2000 Dwyer and Jockey Club Gold Cup, the 2001 Widener, Brooklyn and Suburban Handicaps, and he finished a close second in several other prestigious races for career earnings of over three million dollars. In other words, Albert combined fierce speed with steely determination.

He went home to Three Chimneys Farm in 2002, where he sired multiple graded stakes winners Albertus Maximus, Moonshine Mullin, and his best son, Nobiz Like Shobiz who now lives at Old Friends. In 2008 Albert moved to Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania. He was retired to Old Friends February 1, 2017.

We found Albert a spirited stallion who wanted things his way. He was at his happiest when being served a meal or being left to himself to enjoy sunny days on his own terms. With a fiery horse it’s especially hard having to watch health deteriorate. Albert the Great fought long and valiantly against chronic illness and dwindling quality of life. I think the way he’d want to be remembered is as a winner in his moments of glory. Here are some of them.

Albert the Great winning the 2000 Dwyer Stakes

and the 2000 Jockey Club Gold Cup

and the 2001 Suburban Handicap

Beth
photos by Laura

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November 15, 2021

Discreet Hero (1998-2021)

In a modest way, from 2001 through 2005 Discreet Hero was one of racing’s stars. He won only one graded stakes, the 2001 Round Table (G3) at Arlington, but he ran creditable efforts against such as Orientate, Brass Hat and Mineshaft, and for five years he traveled from Kentucky to Louisiana to Chicago gathering an impressive array of listed stakes wins. I remember him on TVG, a small but determined horse who liked to be up close and even as his career closed would duel to the finish with all he had. His name suited him perfectly.

He ran his last race in December 2005. What happened between then and January 2011 when he came to live with us? I don’t know, but some of it wasn’t good. He had lost his trust in people, and he bore marks that hinted at why. But he moved in with his new paddock mates with a spunky insistence on being a respected member of the gang, and they accepted him quickly. He’d found his home.

It took no time at all for Discreet Hero to become a herd leader. Herd leaders are rarely angels, and when Hero ruled the gang in paddock 32 he encouraged their playful good times a bit far—picking on A. P. Slew was too easy to call sporting behavior—but he had a talent for getting along with other horses and he clearly had the affection of most of his companions. With people, Hero was shy at first, tending to draw back unless the hand reaching out to him held a carrot, but as time went on and his sense of security strengthened, it was a joy to watch him regain trust and happily move forward to be gently rubbed, scratched or caressed. When it was time for a hoof trim or the like he remained reluctant to be caught. He was always his own horse. But to those of us who’d known him a while it was wonderful to hang out with him and see that he was enjoying it.

Hero’s best times of all were with his horse friends, and some years ago he found the one who’d be his close companion for the rest of his life, Cappucino Kid. When Hero settled into a mellower middle age and moved into a quieter herd, there was Cappy. The two of them bonded almost instantly. Interestingly, they had in common that Cappy had also known some rough times before reaching Old Friends. But where Hero was socially ept, Cappy isn’t. Hero didn’t care. He took wholeheartedly to Cappy.

The two grazed together, napped together, and no matter who else was in the herd, stuck with each other through thick and thin. They had a friendly mutual tolerance going with Riversrunrylee and Padua’s Pride. When those two moved to Ashton Grove and The Pizza Man and Work All Week moved in, it took a few months for Hero and Cappy to decide these racing celebrities—mere kids, at that—passed muster with the two of them, but at last they did, and the two pairs of friends became four good friends.

I’m glad Cappy is among friends because he misses Hero. I wish that, instead of me, Cappy could have written his recollections of Hero. Discreet Hero’s human friends saw and loved the grit, good horse sense, and spirited beauty that was in him. If Cappy could speak, he would be able to tell us worlds more.

All who knew Hero, horses and humans, miss him and always will.

Beth
Photos by Laura

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November 12, 2021

Northern Stone (1992-2021)

Northern Stone was one of the calmest, kindest horses ever to live at Old Friends in Kentucky. From the day he joined us in April 2009 until his passing he was a steadying influence on his paddock mates and a sweet-natured host to the guests who had the good fortune to meet him and treat him to a carrot.

I wish I had more photos of him in his younger days with us. The video below, “Remembering Northern Stone,” features many beautiful photos by Laura Battles, but they mostly record his final years. He endured old age, and its increasing issues and limitations, with admirable patience, and he provided as much supportive companionship to Dinard in that horse’s final months as he had earlier contributed to the good times of the herd in “Area 51,” and then as those younger horses became a bit too much for his advancing age, the herd of which Affirmed Success and Kudos are the star members. Northern Stone’s final companion was Easy Grades, a 22 year old former Kentucky Derby contender. The two became good friends, and “Easy” is missing “Rocky.”

While the few middle-aged photos of him I have didn’t blend well enough with the recent ones to mix in with them in the video, I want to share these, taken by Laura on an exuberant August day in 2014 when he was younger and a member of the legendary herd of “Area 51.”

Northern Stone racing Mikethespike, August 2014

Beth
photos by Laura

Remembering Northern Stone, with photos by Laura Battles

 

Rick Capone has kindly sent three more photos of Rocky in his earlier days, so I’m happy to be able to share them.

Northern Stone in 2009,

 

and in 2012,

and 2013, by Rick Capone

 

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