On February 14, 1998, Alydar’s daughter Twenty Eight Carat delivered a special valentine, a handsome bay son by A. P. Indy. He was raced by former University of Kentucky Wildcats coach Rick Pitino’s Ol’ Memorial Stable (then called Celtic Pride Stable), and it’s not hard to guess why they named him A P Valentine. A grandson of Seattle Slew and great-grandson of Secretariat, he was remarkably muscular, athletic, and talented. Hall of Famer Nick Zito trained him to a juvenile win in the 2000 Champagne Stakes. He was a favorite for the Derby and finished second to Point Given in both the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Eventually retired with $864,170 earnings, he began an enthusiastically heralded breeding career at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.
Then, oops. How could a stallion named Valentine fail to get a single mare in foal? Coolmore, which owns Ashford Stud, had no choice but to retire him from stallion duty. Some of you avid race fans will remember this story. But did you know that A P Valentine did go on to be a dad? For Texas veterinarian Dr. William Day, he sired 28 registered foals, not enough for a career at a major stud farm, but 21 of them became racehorses, and two, A P Valor and Ifonlyjohnny, earned more than $100,000 apiece.
Now permanently retired to Old Friends by Dr. Day, A P Valentine arrived just in time for—you guessed it—Valentine’s Day. So I guess for his 20th birthday, he got Old Friends. He’s a handsome, confident guy with more than a passing resemblance to his great sire.
Old Friends also thanks Dr. Day for donating Hawthorne Derby and Saranac Stakes winner River Squall. We miss our two sons of Summer Squall, Charismatic and the less famous but no less loved Delay of Game, and we welcome this son of Summer Squall, who on his dam’s side also happens to be pretty closely related to Creator. So River Squall is already family and we hope he’ll feel happily at home with us. He’s 24.
Speaking of family, here’s newcomer Prized Poach, an unraced 8 year old son of Prized. He’s not on the main tour route—the farm is too large for all paddocks to be visited in a 90 minute tour—but he’s settled in and is currently with Tuneintobow.
But what is this?
Are we seeing double?
Or are tours about to get twice as fun?
If you’re local you probably saw the coverage of Winston’s retirement from the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on Louisville’s WHAS and Lexington’s WTVQ’s coverage of his arrival at Old Friends. If not, I hope you’ve followed the news on our social media and Little Silver Charm’s Facebook page. Little Silver Charm’s wisecracks notwithstanding, here’s the two enjoying grazing together this afternoon.
Can you tell which is which? (Hint: Winston’s got the long legs, Little Silver Charm’s got the big hair.)
Amid the celebration of our new arrivals, we are saddened by the loss of one of our long-time residents. Gritty, tough-knocking Hidden Dark was one of our oldest mares, and has battled a combination of issues during the last few years. “Dee Dee,” as some of us called her, never won a race, but in her time with us she showed the steady fire of an enduring spirit, no doubt an inheritance from her great sire, Ferdinand. We miss her.
Our summer tour schedule resumes on March 15, with 3 tours a day at 10:00, 1:00, and 3:00 seven days a week by reservation, or phone us to ask about our special private tours by appointment only. We hope to see you this summer when you come to meet A P Valentine, River Squall and Winston (Gorgeous George says “me, too!”). If you visited us last summer you’ll be pleased to know you can see Z Dager again in the barn area. He may be the absolutely sweetest horse we’ve ever had.
Did you know that you can now pre-order Dagmar’s forthcoming book of gorgeous paintings of our horses, The Art of Old Friends? Find more information here.
We hope to see you soon.
The Real Photos are by Laura
Snapshots of Minis, Z Dager & Dagmar by Beth