Sunday October 4, 2009

commentatorThere was a palpable buzz in the air at Old Friends this morning; if you didn’t know what was happening, you’d assume the imminent arrival of a member of some royal family.  And, in truth, that’s what was happening;  Commentator arrived at Old Friends today.  His limo (a Sallee horse van) pulled up at about 11:45, with a handsome red face peering out the window.  The side door opened, and with a red carpet walk and a loud whinny, Commentator strode down the ramp to greet his waiting fans.  His leg wraps were removed, and he strutted to his new paddock in front of the big barn.  His fans lined up at the fence for the show, and he didn’t disappoint.  With another loud neigh, he broke into a run along the fence line. 

Commentator is a deep, dark, red horse.  Even with his winter coat starting to come in, he is beautifully dappled.  At Old Friends, we’ve seen our share of horses recently off the track and I have never seen one as fabulous looking as Commentator.  He is muscular, but not too tall, leggy but not lanky.  He has a pretty face and bright, inquisitive eyes.  Like every other great racehorse I’ve ever met, he is competitive:  of course, Bull inthe Heather had to race him.  In Bull’s defense, he is 19 with suspect feet, and he gave a credible showing.  Nevertheless,  Commentator smoked him and then peeled off and ran up the other side of his paddock.  On the other side of the driveway, Swannie didn’t even try to race the new guy—he was happy to just buck and kick.  He knows he can’t run nearly that fast, so he opted for looking pretty.

After a few minutes of showing off, Commentator settled down for some grazing.  He met his first tour at 1 pm, and had a couple of carrots before wandering off to graze some more.  But by the 3 pm tour, he came right over and we discovered our first thing about him:  carrots are ok, but mints… now there’s the ticket.  He knows exactly what the crinkle of cellophane means and he happily crunches them right down.  

Along with Commentator, our other new resident is a millionaire gelding named Bluesthestandard.  He arrived this weekend from Kristin Mulhall in California.  I don’t often immediately label a new horse as “sweet,” but Blue deserves it.   He is a medium bay horse with a white star.   When he arrived, Blue went into a paddock with Mighty Mecke and Wallace Station.  It is a perfect match, because the three geldings looked at one another and immediately decided they are going to be friends.  No squealing, no biting, kicking, or establishing a pecking order.  It was all for one and one for all—the new Three Musketeers.  By today, they lined up at the fence nice as can be.   Blue followed us along the fence for more treats, and as we moved off he ran back up the hill to his new friends.  This group is going to be a new favorite for visitors.

The arrival of a new horse always sets off some of the other horses, and we watched Escape run around this morning.  Dan and Flick watched with interest but didn’t get too excited.   Clever did not come over for single tour today—I think he decided it was just too much nonsense and he opted to let things settle down.

With Blue, Mecke and Wallace now next door, both Glitterman and Williamstown were a little put out.  G-man was challenging them all.  He doesn’t get that at his age he is supposed to be calm and mature!  Willy was just plain cranky; he tried to bite me.  We worked it out and by this afternoon when the owner of one of his sons came to meet him, he was much better behaved. 

Like all the horses at Old Friends, Commentator and Blue are going to love their new jobs greeting people and being “spokeshorses” for racing, rescue, and horses in general.  While they won’t be ridden, their job is just as time-consuming and engaging. They will get loads of attention, be patted, fed, loved, and admired every day.  And in between, they will have lots of green grass, space to run and play, and plenty of rest for the aches and pains of a long athletic career. What more could a horse ask for?  And lucky us: we can visit them, get to know them and share their personalities with their fans. 

We hope you can visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Sunday October 4, 2009

  1. I expect to be in Lexington next weekend, Val, and hope to make it out there either Saturday or Sunday morning. Can’t wait to see the new folks…

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Teresa,
      been wondering when you’d be down. I’ll be at Keeneland on Saturday and doing my tours at OF on Sunday. Hope to see you!
      Val

  2. I was glad to finally be there on arrival day….I never get to see them first. Good Day.

  3. Susan Allen

    Hi Val,
    Wow…I just can’t believe Commentator is there! When they announced his retirement I had a passing thought that it would be really neat if he came to Old Friends….but just assumed he would stay closer to the Farmers since he seems to be their favorite…..kind of makes up for the disappointment that Lava Man is not coming!
    I don’t think I can wait until spring to come for a visit! Actually, I think I’m just going to have to move to KY! Thanks for the update…and could you possibly post of picture of Commentator when you have time!

    • oldfriendsblog

      Thanks Rich and Susan. Rich, are you coming down for Jockey Day later this month?
      BTW Susan, Commentator actually is living quite close to the Farmers–they are Kentuckians.
      -Val

  4. Rich Hoffmann

    Nice coverage of the new Old Friend. I kind of thought that Commentator would be perfect for the farm. I had visited him at Saratoga and thought he had a great personality. Nick did a wonderful job of taking care of him for all his racing years. He should have a long and happy life at Old Friends. The Farmers seem to be wonderful new Old Friends also, judging by their comments- and Michael’s.

    Keep up the good work-I look forward to the blog every week! Rich

  5. Susan Allen

    Val,
    Thanks for the picture! He looks so good…one lucky, fortunate horse! I didn’t realize the Farmers were from Kentucky..heard an interview one time and I guess I assumed they were from NY since Commentator was NY bred..my mistake! I imagine you will see a lot of them!
    I’m so sorry about Appygolucky….he was fortunate to have you all… I would like to send some money in his memory if that’s ok..could it be used possibly to go towards his memorial marker…Thanks again..

  6. Colmel

    My joy at the news that Blue is at OF is tempered by the sorrow of reading about poor Appy. Thank God Appy was able to spend his last days with love and caring.

    But now, my friend Blue is at OF. As a former two-time president of Georgia TOBA, I was thrilled to learn that our most decorated alum has found a home at Old Friends! I absolutely adored Blue’s daddy (American Standard). I’m certain that Blue will be climbing the fence for treats just like his dad in no time. He’s going to be a tremendous asset at Old Friends. I wonder if he’ll be sticking his tongue out for pulls, too.

    We’ll have to make plans to come back for a visit very soon. Of course, it will then be hard for my poor husband to pull me away again.

  7. Abby G

    Hi, Val. Love the blog and was so sorry to hear about Appy. I was one of the WNY Abbys who purchased a share in Escape; I’m thrilled to hear he’s doing so well! I wonder if he knew a fellow New Yorker was arriving…

    I’m so excited to hear that Commentator has found a home at Old Friends. I was lucky enough to see him and Funny Cide race at the Spa, and am relieved that both of Distorted Humor’s sons will be able to enjoy their well-deserved retirements in the Kentucky sunshine. I’ll have to make a trip down South next semester to see the new arrival!

    Oh, and all this talk of super-fillies RA and Zenyatta has me thinking a lot about Azeri, and I was wondering how Jade Hunter was settling in? He seemed like a character!

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Abby.
      Glad to hear from you! How are things in western New York. Jade Hunter is wonderful. He looks and feels great and really likes having visitors. Can’t ask for more than that! Looking forward to your next visit.
      Val

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