April 20, 2014

The Spring Meet at Keeneland has been exciting, but the best race day of all in the Blue Grass this month was the Easter Evening Meet at Old Friends. Sunday evening’s race card featured Little Silver Charm’s challenge to all comers. The gutsy little contender strutted onto the green April turf, ready to try a match race with any who dared. No horse is too famous, no graded stakes winner too fleet, for the diminutive, but dauntless, LSC to take on.

Before post time, the spectators’ scene seethed with activity while the challenger carefully checked out the turf.


Michael calls in his final bets.

Michael calls in his final bets.

Beth gets a hot tip from Ogygian.

Beth gets a hot tip from Ogygian.

Bebe, occupying the best box, seems more interested in just being seen.

Bebe, occupying the best box, seems more interested in just being seen.


For the first race on the card, Little Silver Charm paraded to the top of the run, with Michael Blowen up. Or rather, beside (since, as Kent Desormeaux once discovered, LSC does not do “up”). There his opponent awaited him— None other than the always-game Swan’s Way. Swannie, a 25 year old bay with the formidable experience of 81 starts under his belt, was on his toes, ready for any challenge.

…And they’re off!


03 And theyre off

LSC broke sharply. Seizing the lead, he dashed down the track, mane and tail flying in the sunset.

04 Racing

Under hand urging from his jockey, he showed masterful turn of foot alongside Swan’s Way’s paddock until Swannie had no choice but to charge into a full trot. Swan’s Way’s longer strides swallowed the ground and he passed the mighty mini for a three length win.

05 And winner is Swannie

Johannesbourbon, Diane, John, Laura and Beth cheered them on from their spots right on the rail.

JB may actually be cheering for himself. Note that he sports his own Bourbon Lane Stable gear.

JB may actually be cheering for himself. Note that he sports his own Bourbon Lane Stable gear.


Yet, Little Silver Charm wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Not yet. Maybe a jump up in class was what he really needed.

Negotiations followed.

Negotiations followed (while Kiri’s Clown watched in the background).


What about 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized? Would he dare to take on the Miniscule Monster at his own game?

LSC also decided a jockey change might help. So he fired Michael and welcomed John Bradley aboard. Now the star of the farm, the Chaser of Dreams was rarin’ to go again!

Not so, Prized. He turned and ran in the other direction. Oh, well.

Prized goes his own way.

Prized goes his own way.

Then, just as all seemed over, Prized revved up his famous closing style. Steadily the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner diminished the distance at a decidedly swift walk. At the very least, he was curious to see what the mini was up to.

06 Prized off to slow start

But it was too late. Silver Charm passed the last fence post well ahead. Prized decided he was more interested in nibbling some more grass, anyway.

LSC celebrates with his connections in the winner’s circle

Little Silver Charm celebrates with his connections in the winner’s circle

A Grade One Easter was had by all.


Photos by Laura



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9 responses to “April 20, 2014

  1. Anne

    I got a big kick out of this. It is amazing how they never lose their competitive edge and love for fun. it is great to see some get that second chance to live out the last years of their lives happy and loved. Maybe not by their breeders or former owners, in some cases, but by others who came to their rescue. Thanks for the super entry and great job you all do at Old Friends.

  2. Oh Beth this is PRICELESS. I love the image of Charmie running with Michael, taking on Swannie, Charmie’s mane catching the light and Michael’s big smile… And say… What WAS the hot tip from Ogygian? Love seeing Bebe and all the great Old Friends, and it’s so GREEN there! You and Laura make a SUPER team, this is wondrous, Grade One indeed!!! 🙂

    • oldfriendsblog

      Thanks, Sally! It’s fun being around the horses because they never stop coming up with playful, clever, unforeseen things to do. They may be retired, but they’re so very spirited and engaged. Ogygian’s tip? It was actually about the Derby: Danza! Being a son of Street Boss, Danza is Ogygian’s great-grandson.

      • From across the miles your blogs and these images are so appreciated. They help those of us who are from far away feel so much closer. Old Friends is such a special place, and you and Laura are doing so much to share the magic! And of course Oggie’s tip would be for a Danza Derby pick, such a smart boy! 🙂

      • colmel

        Ah, Ogy knows best! Been following Danza since the Saratoga Special! He came running late then (my notes say he needed more distance), and showed his stuff in the Arkansas Derby. On a completely different note, I’ve always wondered what most of the residents would do if someone played “Call to the Post” loudly enough for all to hear.

        • oldfriendsblog

          It has happened. It’s a wonderful story, so I’ll open the floor to anyone who has witnessed it and wants to recount it. An especially memorable time was in 2006, but there have been others…

      • Laura

        Just last week, I was trying to get Rapid Redux to put up his hears and pose. He just wouldn’t do it until John played his phone ringer (call to the post) and suddenly I had ears pricked and head up 🙂

  3. SusanA

    What fun! Loved this! Makes me wish I was there all the time!

  4. Tupster

    I Ever Sooooo Enjoyed & LovedThis Blog Beth Plus Thanks For The Great Photos Laura, Gave Me Ever Such A Good Laugh & Good On Little Silver Charm, Swannie & Prized, Awwwwww!!!!! 🙂

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