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!




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7 responses to “April 24, 2015

  1. So wonderful the jocks cone out to see there friends.

  2. Gae

    These pictures, all of them, are wonderful. Great shots. Glad to see Angel at OF — he was fun to watch race at the NY tracks. Has Calvin Borel been by lately?

    • oldfriendsblog

      I don’t know if he’s been by lately, but Mr. Borel has been great to us. Personally, I’m rooting for him for the Derby because he’s riding Ogygian’s great-great-grandson, El Kabeir! – Beth

      • Gae

        Thank you for pointing this out — I checked the pedigree and yes there’s Ogygian’s name. And El Kabeir is a gray/roan (me thinks) with Calvin riding in the KY Derby? I’ll root for him too!

        Not to mention Mr. Borel has a gray tabby named after him in Brooklyn. The name Calvin fits him to a T.

  3. Gae

    Ah yes indeed, there’s another Ogygian connection with Stanford on his dam’s side. Thank you for pointing that out. I was wondering who I should follow this year — now I have two colts. I was watching an old race call of Ogygian’s and the broadcaster pronounced his name as OJEE-JEEin. Have I been mispronouncing the name all these years as OGUY-JEEin?

    • oldfriendsblog

      He’s always had people who pronounced it both ways. At OF we say O-guy-jian, and so did most people while he was racing and during his time at Claiborne, but I think some of his old pals at Tartan Farms called him Ojee. In Japan, maybe O-jee-jian since at a JBBA stallion showing posted on Youtube I can guess at enough of what the announcer is saying to hear Johannesburg’s damsire announced as O-jee-jian. I guess it doesn’t matter how you say it, Ogygian means greatness.

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