Monthly Archives: November 2017

November 13, 2017

20171114 Drive

With the grey cold of November settling in and the last leaves falling from the trees, Laura’s latest batch of photos make for wonderful memories of October.

The horses loved the mild weather and almost unseasonably green grass. It was a month for frisking, playing, and of course, saying hello to the many racing fans who came to Lexington for the Keeneland Fall Meet.

20171114 Ide


20171114 Geri and the Heron

Geri naps in the warm sun with one of the pair of great blue herons for company.

20171114 Albert the Great

Albert the Great

By the way, Albert the Great and Nobiz Like Shobiz, who have paddocks next to each other, are father and son (Albert is the best son of 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin).

20171114 Nobiz Like Shobiz

Nobiz Like Shobiz goofs around – something he’s very good at.

New residents Smooth Air and Palmer’s Approach spent October settling in and getting to know what Old Friends is all about. Smooth Air already has some fans among our barn and tour guide staff. He’s not especially flashy looking, but is he ever a beautiful horse.

20171114 Smooth Air

Smooth Air

Smooth Air, who’s 12 years old, earned more than a million on the track as a homebred for Mount Joy Stables. He won the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, the Ohio Derby (G2), the Needles Stakes at Calder, and the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), as well as finishing second in the 2008 Florida Derby and 2009 Met Mile. He ran in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Be sure to say hello to him next time you visit us.

20171114 Palmers Approach

Palmer’s Approach

Palmer’s Approach, also 12 years old, is a son of Najran (remember that amazing 2003 Westchester Handicap?). Palmer overcame physical issues thanks to the dedication of trainer Nick Zito and his wife Kim Zito, and Dr. Scott Palmer, for whom he was named. Their care and belief in him enabled him not only to become a racehorse, but a two-times winner. Palmer’s second career, launched by Lorita Lindemann, was as as hunter/jumper.

And we even had a birthday party. Rare as it is for a Thoroughbred in the northern hemisphere to be born in the fall, on October 15, 1990, Bint Marscay was foaled in Australia, where she was the 1992 Champion Juvenile Filly. At Old Friends, she is the queen of Laura Battles’ love and the lucky recipient of Laura’s special friendship. She’s pretty special to all of us, and deservedly so. Laura held a 27th birthday party for Binty.

20171114 Binty Birthday Girl 1

Bint Marscay enjoys a special birthday treat prepared and served with love by Laura.

20171114 Binty Birthday Girl 3

20171114 Binty Birthday Girl 2

Being a most generous birthday girl, Binty was also in a giving mood. She gave Dagmar a good, long back scratch.

If you’re not familiar with the beautiful portraits Dagmar Galleithner Steiner has made of a number of Old Friends retirees and other great horses, I’m sure you’ll be as in awe of her ability to capture not just how they look, but who they are.

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November 1, 2017

Awesome Gem plays peekaboo

A peek-a-boo from Awesome Gem.

Yesterday Dr. Emma Adam, one of the wonderful vets who donate their care to Old Friends’ residents, visited the Georgetown farm for fun, bringing her mother, Chris Adam, who is a tour guide at the National Stud in Newmarket, England. As we golf carted around the farm Chris told me about guiding visitors around this Jockey Club facility that stands stallions, boards broodmares, and provides sales consignment services (Zenyatta’s half-sister Eblouissante is among their graduates). I’d thought maybe visits to the National Stud were limited to prospective clients and others with racing connections, but not at all. The National Stud does group tours for the general public most days by reservation just as we do. Their visitors see stallions, mares with foals in the spring and summer, and yearlings. Chris told me many of the tours she gives are to school groups and senior groups. She enjoys educating people about the phases of the horses’ lives that race goers don’t see, their early life and preparation to begin their racing careers, and the care and breeding of mares and stallions.

Marshall Rooster

“I’m from England, too.” Marshall Rooster

She loves those wonderful moments, also familiar at OF, when the sight of the horses brings light to the eyes of a visitor who’s battling cognitive issues connected with aging, and a smile to their face. The beauty of a horse is a powerful source of joy.

So, though the National Stud is larger and more elegant than Dream Chase Farm, Chris’ priorities and experiences there struck chords. I very much hope some day to take one of her tours.

Here’s the National Stud’s site. Beautiful, eh?

GR in his new paddock

“Tours? That’s my middle name. Genuine Reward in his new paddock

Speaking of tours, a reminder: on Nov. 7 Old Friends in Georgetown goes on its winter tour schedule. We’ll be offering one tour a day at 11:00 am. So come see us this fall or winter!


Amazombie in his same paddock (which he shares with Rapid Redux).


Little Mike (L) and Game On Dude, new friends at Old Friends.

And speaking of out on the farm, I want to share with you some of Laura’s recent photos and a nice partnership that’s growing up. It’s between Game On Dude and Little Mike. “The Dude” liked sharing his paddock with Catlaunch, but “the Cat” currently needs TLC in the barn because of recent dental surgery and, unrelated to that, coordination issues due to EPM. Catlaunch still greets the tours along with some other residents who spend the day in the barn, but he takes his turn-out time in the paddock area connected to his stall, so Game On Dude wanted a new paddockmate.

revving up for a race

Revving up for a play session

What could be more fun for the three-times winner of the Santa Anita Handicap than a buddy who can run with him however fast he wants to go? And what play could be more exciting for the winner of the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf than racing a horse as (comparatively) young, (completely) sound, and (still impressively) fast as he is?

Dude and Little Mike race

They start to get their run going.

Dude runs

Dude ain’t kiddin’ around anymore.

These two are having a great time enjoying several impromptu races a day. In their youth both excelled at a mile and a quarter, but since the Dude raced on the dirt and Mike on the turf, who’d have thought to ever see these two champions racing each other? It could only happen at Old Friends!

Little Mike rolling

Mike luxuriates in a nice roll.

Mirroring 2

After play, it’s great just to relax together. Or, “I can do anything you can do, and I can do it just like you.”


photos by Laura


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