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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.