Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 28, 2015

Hall-of-Famers Bob Baffert and Silver Charm share a playful moment.

Hall-of-Famers Silver Charm and his trainer, Bob Baffert, share a playful moment. Photo by Tim W.

…Speaking of wonderful moments shared between our residents and their connections, here’s one that happened today. I wish I could describe the reminiscing shared by 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm and his trainer Bob Baffert when Bob, Jill and Bode Baffert took time out from their busy pre-Derby schedules to visit Old Friends.

A Silver Charm brings good racing luck, they say...

Are the two veteran Derby winners exchanging perspectives on how Saturday’s race will play out? Photo by Tim W.

Or the welcome Game On Dude gave them, especially Jill–smart horses like the Dude know who loves them the very best of all.

The best of friends. Jill Baffert, Bode Baffert and Game On Dude enjoy each other's company. Photo by Tim W.

The best of friends. Jill Baffert, Bode Baffert, Bob Baffert and Game On Dude enjoy each other’s company. Photo by Tim W.

I wish I could describe the memorable time they all had being together again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there, but I do want to take this opportunity to give heartfelt thanks to all the owners, trainers, jockeys, exercise riders, grooms, and their families who visit and support their former equine colleagues in so many generous and caring ways. And just as warm a thank you to the farm staff who’ve worked with them in their younger days, in the breeding shed, foaling barn, training areas or offices. and who now make a little time when they can to share a moment relaxing and remembering with them, now that their work is done.

Or, to introduce new friends...  Photo by Tim W.

Or, to introduce new friends… Photo by Tim W.

And thanks to Tim Wilson for sharing these great photos!

Beth

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April 26, 2015

Spring in Kentucky! Vivid green, redbuds and dogwoods in bloom, warm sun alternating with chilly weather. Sweet, tender green grass for the horses. Lots and lots of rain. And mud!

Sarbonne rolls in the mud. Photo by Laura.

Sarbonne rolls in the mud. Photo by Laura.

Horses never outgrow…

31 year old Do One Dance, a.k.a. Francis, after enjoying his mud roll. Photo by Laura.

31 year old Do One Dance, a.k.a. Francis, after enjoying his mud roll. Photo by Laura.

…their love for playing in the spring sunshine…

(L to R) Sarbonne, Fabulous Strike, Marshall Rooster, Commentator. Photo by Laura.

(L to R) Sarbonne, Fabulous Strike, Marshall Rooster, Commentator. Photo by Laura.

and rolling, splashing, wallowing in mud, mud, mud!

Rail Trip and Catlaunch. Photo by Laura.

Rail Trip and Catlaunch. Photo by Laura.

Hidden Lake. "Muddy? Me?" Photo by Laura.

Hidden Lake. “Muddy? Me?” Photo by Laura.

El Brujo and Victor Cooley. "Not us." Photo by Laura.

El Brujo and Victor Cooley. “Not us.” Photo by Laura.

Eldaafer, Google & Yahoo. "Nor we!" Photo by Laura.

Eldaafer, Google & Yahoo. “Nor we!” Photo by Laura.

Hussonfirst, be-muddied and proud of it!  Photo by Laura.

Hussonfirst, be-muddied and proud of it! Photo by Laura.

And then, there are the joys of springtime naps.

Game On Dude and Yankee Fourtune luxuriate in a spring afternoon snooze. Photo by Laura.

Game On Dude and Yankee Fourtune luxuriate in an April afternoon snooze. Photo by Laura.

From the spattered to the sublime – Michael paid a visit to wish luck to Brereton C. Jones’ Ashland Stakes (G1) winner and top rated Kentucky Oaks hopeful, Lovely Maria (she put in a fabulous 5 furlong work this morning). That’s her trainer Larry Jones with them, in case you didn’t recognize the famous cowboy hat.

Oaks contender Lovely Maria with trainer Larry Jones, admired by Michael at Keeneland. Photo by Mark Otto.

Oaks contender Lovely Maria with trainer Larry Jones, admired by Michael at Keeneland. Photo by Mark Otto.

Whoever your Derby and Oaks picks, here’s wishing them all the very best of luck and safest of trips this coming weekend!

Beth

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April 24, 2015

The Keeneland meet, into Kentucky Derby time! At Old Friends, it’s the season for reunions. When our residents’ old racing connections come to town, happy moments are shared when equine retirees are visited by their former jockeys, trainers, owners, grooms and others who played roles in their race careers and lives as working athletes.

So far this spring, several of the horses have had visits from people they once worked with, and for, people with whom they shared experiences, with whom they renew bonds. This is an important time and we look forward to more reunions as people arrive in Kentucky for Derby season. Among those so far, I want to mention two very special days when Hall of Fame jockeys were reunited with former mounts they love. Gary Stevens visited Hall of Fame horse, 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm for the first time in many years, and Angel Cordero, Jr., was reunited with Eclipse Award Sprint Champion, Gulch.

Both of these jockeys have associations with Gulch, by the way, Mr. Stevens having won the 1995 Kentucky Derby on Gulch’s son, Thunder Gulch. Gary Stevens has won three Derbys (so far), by the way, including 1988 on the spectacular filly, Winning Colors. Mr. Cordero, “King of Saratoga,” has three Kentucky Derby victories to his credit, 1974 on Cannonade, 1976 on Bold Forbes, and 1985, Spend a Buck.

Mr. Cordero’s love for Gulch seemed to glow from him. I have no photos of that moment, but some new–and we hope continuing–friendships were also made that day…

Angel Cordero and Little Silver Charm. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Angel Cordero and Little Silver Charm. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Photo by Tim Wilson.

Photo by Tim Wilson.

Mr. Stevens’ time with Silver Charm was captured in these photos that say so very much that there’s little I could add.

Gary Stevens and Silver Charm. Equisport Photos.

Gary Stevens and Silver Charm. Equisport Photos.

Courtesy of Equisport Photos.

Courtesy of Equisport Photos.

Many thanks to all of those who played a part in the horses’ past and have–or will–come to the farms in Kentucky or New York to renew those bonds!

Beth

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March 31, 2015

Spring is here at last and some of Old Friends’ residents are enjoying a change of paddocks. Afternoon Deelites has moved across the drive to the paddock in front of the house–in the “front yard” paddock he’ll keep enjoying the busy social life he loves. No tour will escape him!

Eldaafer, Google and Yahoo now have a big paddock with goat-proof fences. Now they can play in plenty of space, the goats will be securely in that space, and they have a whole herd of neighbors to race. Here are the Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner and his goats as they challenged neighbors Mikethespike, Cherono, Johannesbourbon, Ball Four, Lion Hunter, Bonapaw, Boule d’Or, Northern Stone and W. C. Jones to some laps up and down the fence.

Eldaafer, Google and Yahoo race their new neighbors. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Eldaafer, Google and Yahoo race their new neighbors. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Silver Charm now has a permanent paddock. His new neighbors are “Seabiscuit” star Popcorn Deelites and Special Ring on one side, Danthebluegrassman, Flick and Unaccountable on the other. I’m not sure the Derby and Preakness winner is all that impressed with Pops’ and Rings’ encore number, the “Movie Star vs. Tattoo” show. That doesn’t matter. Pops and Ring are as impressed as ever with themselves.

And Game On Dude is having a fantastic time with his new paddock mate Yankee Fortune. These guys are two of the sweetest natured horses OF has ever been lucky enough to have. They’re already great buddies. They’re rarely more than a foot or two apart. They mirror each other. They play, they love petting and kisses on the nose. They gave the race track their all, both achieved feats to be proud of, and now they’re showing the same enthusiasm for their well-earned retirement.

Game On Dude, Yankee Fortune, Little Silver Charm, and Michael. Photo by Tim.

Game On Dude, Yankee Fortune, Little Silver Charm, and Michael. Photo by Tim.

I guess you could say they’re enjoying life’s smaller pleasures…

Beth

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