Monthly Archives: February 2018

February 25, 2018

A lot has been going on at the farm. A few weeks ago we were saddened to lose Ukiah. To racegoers, he was just a horse. Bred and raced in his early career by Jerry and Ann Moss, he was by the superlative sire Unbridled’s Song, but of his 20 races, he won only 2. When he’d been racing for two years with only one win, he went into the claiming ranks and was acquired by trainer Doug O’Neil for partners Dennis O’Neil, Paul Reddam, and, for whom he got his second win. He was tried in a stakes race, the Californian (G2), but couldn’t beat those. Before long he was back in the claiming ranks, where he stayed and was claimed another time or two. By 2010 and the age of eight he’d done about all he could and was by then racing for the low tag of $7,500. Ukiah retired to Old Friends in 2010 thanks to the Mosses’ support for their former homebred.

20180225 Ukiah

Ukiah 2002-2018

At Old Friends, Ukiah was never on the main tour route. Chances are you didn’t meet him. We knew him as a small but gutsy little grey guy who got along well with his paddock mates, but 2002 Kentucky Derby contender Easy Grades knew Ukiah as his best friend in the whole world. Those two were close to inseparable during Ukiah’s entire eight years with us.

20180222 2 Ukiah and Easy Grades

Ukiah and Easy Grades

Ukiah was never a squeaky wheel. He had a happy 8 years with us until the day he had a severe colic attack. Brought to the barn and treated by Dr. Waldridge, he seemed at first to be better, but soon it was clear he needed hospital care. As we watched Ukiah load onto the trailer, his small, grey form seeming so vulnerable in the big open doorway, all of us at the barn thought he’d be coming back home to us. But colic can surprise in harsh ways. Despite the best attempts to save Ukiah’s life, it was not to be. We miss him. So do his paddock buddies, especially Easy Grades. But Easy is doing well.

Instead of thinking about his last illness, the link below is how I like to remember Ukiah. This is the time he tried top company in the Californian Stakes. When I found this race online, what do you know. Look who all is in this race. Ukiah’s the only grey, easy to spot. That pretty red horse is future OF resident Awesome Gem. And look who’s up front battling for the lead during most of the race. None other than our own sassy guys, Rail Trip and Ball Four. This race may be the record for most OF horses in a single race, ever. Ukiah liked herd life, so even though he didn’t win this race, I love this goodbye image of him running with so many horses we’ve come to know and love.

Ukiah, Rail Trip, Ball Four and Awesome Gem in the 2009 Californian Stakes

Though no horse can take another’s place, we have had some arrivals I look forward to posting about and are expecting another soon. Stay tuned for more about that.

As we approach spring we’re still providing hay and other winter care, now working in the mud instead of the ice or snow, but the horses all seem to have spring fever. Everybody’s mellow. Everybody wants to nap half the day away, recharging their batteries, so to speak, whenever the rain stops and when – like today – the sun comes out. Tours have picked back up again, too. Can it really be spring this early? Time will tell, but for now, there’s definitely a spring feeling among the horses.

And guess what. We can share that feeling with you, thanks to staff members Tammy Crump who took this little video and James Crump who posted it on Youtube. Enjoy!

1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup plays with his best buddy, Gorgeous George!

photos by Laura
video by Tammy







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February 3, 2018

It’s with wistful sadness that we say goodbye to Private Zone, an outstanding race horse who showed courage and patience as he quietly struggled against illness. Private Zone was bred in Canada by Adena Springs and was a son of Macho Uno and Auburn Beauty, a daughter of Siphon. He won the 2014 Vosburgh Stakes (G1) and Cigar Mile (G1), and he finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. In 2015 he won the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), Belmont Sprint Championship (G3), and Forego Stakes (G1), and was third in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His career earnings were close to $3 million.

Private Zone 01

But it’s as a member of the Old Friends family that we’ll remember Private Zone. Unlike some, he made no fuss about settling in at the farm. During the quarantine all new arrivals go through, he watched the tours, gathered what was going on, and when he graduated to participation in the tours he always behaved kindly to his admirers, accepting carrots with graciousness.

Then it was time to join a herd. Private Zone, who was 8 years old, joined the other youngish geldings in “Maybesomaybenot’s herd.” They have an especially pleasant paddock where a line of trees casts a sheltering shade through hot summer mornings and makes a windbreak in cold weather.

Private Zone 03

Private Zone last summer living the herd life.

The herd accepted him, but his time with his new companions was all too short. Concerns about his health led to his being brought back to the barn where he could receive Dr. Waldridge’s visits and close observation by the barn crew. He had turn-out time in the small paddock accessible from his back stall door. Though he, and we, tried our hardest to fight his digestive tract disorder, we lost the battle. The afternoon Private Zone went back to Park Equine Hospital for the second time in two weeks, we bid him goodbye with heavy hearts. He received the best care humanly possible there, but I think we knew this was one race Private Zone would not win.

Private Zone 02

In his stall, where you may have met him on a tour in spring 2017 or this winter.

He’d only turned nine years old. It’s terribly sad when a horse dies that young, all the more because he had so little time to enjoy the retirement his valor and hard work had so richly earned. He fought the good fight, first on the track, then against a difficult illness, but finally it was time to let him go in peace.

Photos by Laura

Old Friends’ press release about Private Zone’s passing.


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February 1, 2018

They say blogs are for contemplation, not news. Whoever “they” are, they’re probably right about that. All the same, I can’t help mentioning two news items. First, tickets for Old Friends’ Annual Homecoming are now available! Our 2018 Annual Homecoming is Sunday, May 6 – the day after the Derby – at the main farm. It’s always a fun party and a great way to meet other Old Friends supporters, so I hope very much to see you there! To find out more, call us at 502-863-1775.

Second, you probably already know that Green Mask has arrived. But did you know he’s a really sweet guy?

Green Mask small 1

Green Mask

Green Mask is by Mizzen Mast out of the Forestry mare Bonzai Beauty. He specialized in sprints on the turf. He won the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) at Churchill Downs and Highlander Stakes (G2) at Woodbine, and a race close to our hearts, the Bonapaw Stakes at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana. He also got third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

He’s currently doing the routine quarantine for all new arrivals, and is also recuperating from the fractured sesamoid that ended a beautiful race career, so he’s receiving special care in the barn with restricted, supervised turn-out, as Arson Squad and Jimbo Fallon did on their arrivals. When Green Mask is ready for tours I think he’ll love them. He already knows that people and treats are some of his favorite things. And if he’s one of your favorite horses, you don’t have to wait to get a share in him. You can phone us for one now.

Green Mask small 2

Green Mask – don’t you love his blaze? Question mark in a mirror.

Old Friends thanks Green Mask’s racing owner, Sheikh Abdullah Saeed Almaddah, his trainer, Brad Cox, everyone at the New Bolton Center and Dell Ridge Farm who took care of Green Mask and enabled his retirement with us.

If you asked the horses, they’d probably tell you there’s another news item. Mud! Oodles and oodles of it. Carole says she’d rather deal with snow than slurp through the mud catching horses who’d rather not take medicine.


The farm’s humans just don’t know how to get into the spirit of a good roll in the mud, that’s all.

But the milder weather seems to have a relaxing effect on the horses. Everybody’s laid back, just being nice and lazy.

whens dinner

Hanging out waiting for dinner.

When’s dinner gonna come, when’s dinner gonna come? Clockwise, from left top: I’m Charismatic & Arson Squad. Right top: Ready’s Rocket, Geronimo & Cost Affective (Rathor seems to be outside the frame). Right foreground: Sokitumi Samurai (out of frame are his friends Fabulous Strike, Awesome Gem & Marshall Rooster). Left foreground: Got to be either Tuneintobow or Prized Poach. Whoever he is, he actually does have a head, I promise.

Milder weather is for hanging out with their favorite paddock buddies.

Dan and FCH

Danthebluegrassman (L) & Fighting City Hall

Affirmed Success Kudos

Affirmed Success & Kudos


From L: Dinard, Archie’s Echo & Beau Cashin’ In

Dinard and Archie’s Echo have a new paddock mate, Beau Cashin’ In, who was formerly with Tuneintobow. Making friends with an already-established herd or twosome is usually a gradual process for horses. Sometimes it only takes hours, but more often, weeks until the new guy or girl is fully accepted, as Archie and Dinard are signalling here. Beau’s being wisely patient about it. That’s just how it is when you’re a horse.

Santona Lady Grizzley

Santona (L) & Lady Grizzley

Lady Grizzley can tell you all about that. Last summer she was the new girl on the block. Now she’s tight with boss-mare Santona.

Princess and Bella

Princess (L) & Bella

Hey, these aren’t horses…

Dude and Soup

Alphabet Soup is curious about Game On Dude

In the barn the socializing happens from a safe distance. Safe, because Alphabet Soup is a stallion and stallions won’t share space with another male horse, even a gelding like Game On Dude. Looks to me like Alphabet Soup may be sizing up the Dude, thinking he looks like a formidable champion (he’s right about that), and wondering if he could beat him on the track. We’ll never know, which is probably just as well for 27 year old Alphabet Soup since Game On Dude is a mere 11 and still very speedy. If they were both 5? Who knows. I think I’ll put equal money on both of them.


Photos by Laura


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