Old Friends in Kentucky has had the biggest, busiest Keeneland and Derby seasons ever. We send a huge thank you to all who visited us this spring and we hope you’ll return soon. As a tour guide, I’ve never felt more proud of the residents I’m lucky to introduce to people. What a thrill it is to bring people to meet a Kentucky Derby winner. And not just any Kentucky Derby winner, the remarkable Silver Charm himself. But it’s not just superstars like Silver Charm, Game On Dude, Gulch and Commentator I’m so proud of.
It’s a joy to show off Sea Native, Silver Ray, Count the Gold, W. C. Jones, Stormy Passage and all the residents, and the grounds, and the barn, and…
Everybody’s contented. Old Friends has never been able to give a secure home and great care to as many horses. We couldn’t do it without you. And it couldn’t happen without the utter dedication of hard-working, knowledgeable farm manager Tim Wilson and his team. They’re all great, but I want to make special mention of assistant manager Carole Oates who does so much of the hands-on care, day in and day out, and knows each and every horse so well that she spots the slightest signs of any change in their demeanor. Carole’s horse intuition is as deep as her knowledge of horse care.
We’re now in one of my favorite times of the year, the lull between Derby season and vacation season, as summer comes on, and the horses feast on the richest grass of the year and relax in the warm sun. The stallions hang out in pairs and threes at their fences in neighboring paddocks. The mares and geldings enjoy mellow times with their paddock mates. Canadian Turf Champion 2013 Forte Dei Marmi has passed the quarantine period all new residents go through and is making good friends with Starspangled Heat.
Game On Dude and Yankee Fourtune continue to be the best of buddies.
And there’s another friendship on the farm that it’s great fun to watch grow and deepen.
I love the long evenings after hours, when all is peaceful, and Ring stops flashing his tattoo for the day, and Rapid Redux grazes quietly beside Amazombie, and Rail Trip no longer feels he has to keep an eye out to make sure Catlaunch doesn’t get carrots he doesn’t get.
Most of all, I love watching the horses interact with each other in their paddocks and across their fences. Like the inseparable Ukiah and Easy Grades.
And newer friends Shadowcaster and Maybesomaybenot (Maybe and Bobby Sands are still best buds, but everybody loves Maybe).
Two longtime friends of mine are developing a new friendship of their own, Affirmed Success and Kudos.
And a friendship of long standing is still going strong, Canadian stars, Begg family homebreds, Victor Cooley and El Brujo.
Last, but never, ever least, when Mixed Pleasure (via his human, John) invited some of us to celebrate his 30th birthday yesterday, Little Silver Charm came over too. He didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” with the rest of us, but he gave Mixie the best gift of all, a special birthday kiss.