I’m a day late posting, but what a week it has been! For me, it started at 5 am on Wednesday when a group of Old Friends volunteers and supporters served sausage biscuits on the backside of Churchill Downs. The Louisville Thoroughbred Club, their charity arm called My Racing Heart, and Purnell Sausage Company held the event each morning last week to raise money for racehorse retirement charities. Old Friends is one of several beneficiaries of the LTC’s commitment to this cause. What a great way to spend a cold and crisp spring morning—watching Derby and Oaks horses during their morning workouts, and serving up some good.
This time of year we get a number of school field trips. One day we had 60 kindergartners and their parent chaperones for a tour and picnic. What a great time! We split the group into three parts, found three tour guides, and went to see some horses. I am still amazed at just how patient the horses can be with small kids. Fortunate Prospect is always great, but so are many of the other stallions. Awad in particular stood out. He stood perfectly still while 20 sets of little hands reached through the fence to pat his nose, his neck, his shoulder and about anywhere else they could reach.
Then, of course, it was the Oaks on Friday and the Derby on Saturday. Not much to say that someone hasn’t already said elsewhere. It just reinforces to me how the old warriors in this game deserve a dignified, caring retirement.
Oh, but then came Sunday afternoon, and the reason I am late with this. It was the day we had the Old Friends annual homecoming celebration. No one could have conjured up nicer weather to officially welcome Danthebluegrassman home-it was clear, sunny and just warm enough.
The big tent went up, Wallace Station served up a terrific buffet and the auction items were a big hit. People took tours, sat in the sunshine listening to music and generally had a great time. Dan wasn’t too sure about the commotion but he took it all in stride. Williamstown seemed to love the crowds—I saw him prancing around his paddock with his tail arched up like a banner. Show off!
I have to give a big shout-out to the Gallatin County Bluegrass Youth Band. They are fantastic. If they are ever in your area, go see them. Unbelievably good, let me tell you.
The homecoming was a great success, and people came from everywhere. Linda from Maine, who saved Cappuccino Kid, made the trip down. It was an honor to meet her—she put it out there to save the Kid, and he thanks her. Jean Cruget was there; he rode Kiri’s Clown. Oh, and a little old horse named Seattle Slew as well!
I could go on forever, but it’s time to stop. Thanks to everyone who helped make this week special—the Louisville Thoroughbred Club, the Old Friends staff and volunteers, the people who came to Dan’s Homecoming, the kindergartners and the everyday visitors. I want to end with a special thank you. Eleven year old Lucy from Louisville emailed to say she wished to donate her winnings from her Kentucky Derby favorite Eight Belles. She said she couldn’t enjoy her winnings and wanted the money to help other horses.
Lucy, you made everyone of us feel proud to know someone like you. I hope you visit us very soon.