Last Sunday was Old Friends’ annual Homecoming, and what a party we had! Thanks to much hard work by staff and volunteers, preparations came together, the Sunday after the Derby arrived, and the fun began.
Highlights included reunions with supporters, longtime and new, enjoyed along with tasty Furlongs’ barbeque, plentiful beverages of all kinds, and delicious dessert thanks to the Spotz Gelato truck! Not to mention the great bluegrass music played by Shades of Grass!
This Homecoming, Old Friends had plenty new to share and celebrate, most notably the new hosts of honor, Silver Charm, Game On Dude—and Dude’s best buddy, Yankee Fourtune, a multiple graded stakes winner in his own right and a real character. Little Silver Charm held court, of course, making sure he got a BIG share of attention and petting. Movie star Popcorn Deelites and identity-proud Special Ring (I’d be too if I were a G1 winner) partied with admirers in fine form. Wallenda met and greeted in the small paddock.
Tour guides introduced newcomers Starspangled Heat and 2013 Canadian Turf Champion, British-foaled Forte Dei Marmi, as well as Porfido, a Chilean stakes winner who earned in graded stakes in the US before falling on tougher times as an aging claimer. Also on hand to greet their friends were our many longtime residents.
Golf carts made many trips up the hill to facilitate visits to Tinner, Kudos, Commentator, Affirmed Success and the mares and geldings who live in the back 40 acres of the farm, and to show off an area that was only planned as of last Homecoming, the big pasture that our Barn Manager Tim had dubbed “Area 51,” where nine geldings now enjoy each others’ society, as well as with a smaller pasture of four (Riva Way was glad to see many longtime friends) and Eldaafer’s roomy paddock with special fencing for his pet goats, Google and Yahoo. I saw Cherono and W. C. Jones cadge a few carrots. A few, and a few more. Mikethespike too.
As evening drew on, people headed back for the big tent, where auctioneers Tom Sayre and Curtis Sharff once again turned their inimitable skills and wit to a lively auction that once again provided substantial support for OF’s retirees. The halter I most wish I could have afforded? Will Take Charge’s! …Or maybe Holy Bull’s! Gio Ponte’s! Eskendereya’s! Skip Away’s! Hard Spun’s! And… You get the idea. If you love horse racing, this year’s halters alone were amazing, thanks to the generosity of these horse’s farms or connections. And they were only some of the wonderful loot won by many lucky, and very kind, folks.
Starspangled Heat celebrated the successful occasion by pirouetting a few complete turns on his toes.
Finally, twilight deepened. People lingered over their last conversations of the evening, petted a few noses goodbye, and slowly drifted back to their cars with smiles on their faces. Staff and volunteers did the clean-up dance. Horses grazed and dozed in the quiet.
Another Homecoming was over, and so soon. If you were able to celebrate with us, thank you for making it such a success.
If not, this year you won’t have to wait for another Derby weekend to mix the best of horse racing with partying on behalf of Old Friends. This fall, Keeneland hosts the Breeders’ Cup. Celebrate Breeders’ Cup with OF? Oh yeah! For developing information about our Kentucky festivities, keep your eye on oldfriendsequine.org. For New York fun, oldfriendsatcabincreek.com.
Meanwhile, visit with us this summer at both farms. Kentucky: 3 tours a day at 10:00, 1:00 and 3:00 (for reservations call 502-863-1775). New York: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm (call 518-698-2377 for schedule and events during the Saratoga meet).