Monthly Archives: April 2018

April 27, 2018

Only 8 days to Derby day! On Saturday, May 5, the best three year olds in the country—and one from Europe (sort of)—will compete in the run for the roses and in the Kentucky Oaks. Have you picked out your Derby colt and your Oaks filly? Better make your choices. Time’s getting short.

A tall order, you say? With so many promising contenders, how do you choose? Well, whether you’re a calculating handicapper or enjoy cheering on your own personal favorite, may I suggest the Old Friends Angle?

One way to play the Old Friends Angle is to back a horse with human connections—owner, breeder, trainer, jockey, exercise rider, groom, foaling staff—who supports Old Friends. That’s a great angle. In our earliest days it definitely swayed our feelings, but these days the wonderful thing is that so many racing participants support Old Friends and other Thoroughbred aftercare providers that I’m grateful to say this version of the angle would cover just about every runner in both races. From this perspective, back ’em all.

There’s another Old Friends Angle. One that in our earliest years didn’t often figure in the Derby and Oaks, but this angle has grown, and continues to become more exciting with each passing year. It’s the horse angle. If you walked around the farm and asked the horses who they’re rooting for, who would they pick? Some stranger, or their own grandkid or great-grandkid?

So, if you haven’t got your Derby colt or Oaks filly yet, consider these horses who have very special connections to Old Friends:

2018 Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 5, 6:50 pm Eastern Time

Audible is Gulch’s great-grandson. (Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel by Gilded Time). Blue Devil Bel’s dam Fahamore is by Gulch. Audible won the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G2), both important steps along the Kentucky Derby trail.

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Gulch looks over his new home on his arrival at Old Friends, December 22, 2009, photo by Beth

Gulch (1984-2016) was the 1988 Eclipse Sprint Champion, a champion sire, and a great gentleman. Intelligent, dignified, tough but kind, he will always be in a class by himself. Gulch sired 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, many Derby contenders, and is ancestor to more top athletes than any other Old Friends retiree. We were truly privileged to care for the great Gulch in retirement.

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Gulch, at home in his favorite paddock, age 30. Photo by Laura


Combatant is Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. (Scat Daddy – Border Dispute by Boundary). Ogygian’s daughter Myth was dam of international juvenile champion Johannesburg, who sired Scat Daddy. Combatant has yet to win a stakes race, but he finished second in the G3 Southwest Stakes and contended strongly in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.

Flameaway is also by Scat Daddy and so also Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. (Scat Daddy – Vulcan Rose by Fusaichi Pegasus). A graded stakes winner at 2 and 3, he finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes.

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Ogygian, age 30, photo by Laura



Hofburg is Touch Gold’s grandson. (Tapit – Soothing Touch by Touch Gold). Hofburg finished second to Audible in this year’s Florida Derby (G1).

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Touch Gold charges over when he hears the call. “Where’s the race?”

Touch Gold, foaled in 1994, lives at our Georgetown Farm. Winner of the 1997 Belmont Stakes and the horse who denied the Triple Crown to 1997 Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm, Touch Gold is fierce, smart, muscular and totally impressive. Come visit and admire him this summer!


Justify, the overwhelming favorite, is another son of Scat Daddy and so another great-great-grandson of Ogygian. (Scat Daddy – Stage Magic by Ghost Zapper). Trained by Bob Baffert, Justify won the Santa Anita Derby so impressively that he’s set heads spinning.

Mendelssohn, yet another Scat Daddy, is Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. Based in Ireland, Mendelssohn was foaled in Kentucky. (Scat Daddy – Leslie’s Lady by Tricky Creek). He won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and did you see his UAE Derby? Wow!

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Ogygian in 2009, photo by Beth

Ogygian (1983-2015) was a great athlete, important broodmare sire, and a patriarch of Old Friends. He retired to us in 2005 and his strong-willed, gracious presence remained a foundation of our survival and success for a decade. Through his grandson Street Boss he is the great-grandsire of 2016 Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia. His grandson Johannesburg’s son Scat Daddy, though prematurely deceased at 11, was one of the best sires of his generation. He did “O” proud.

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Ogygian at age 30, photo by Laura


Promises Fulfilled is Marquetry’s grandson. (Shackleford – Marquee Delivery by Marquetry). He won this year’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1). A third place finish in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) after leading most of the way suggests he likes the Churchill Downs track.

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Marquetry, photo by Stacey Stoneman

Marquetry (1987-2013), winner of the G1 1991 Hollywood Gold Cup and 1992 Eddie Read Handicap and other graded stakes, was one of the most distinctive retirees we ever had. A rich red horse with white markings decorating his legs, he was officially a Paint as well as a Thoroughbred, but it was his combination of spirited dignity and affectionate kindness that his friends will always remember. He’s emerged as an important broodmare sire as well. Marquetry was absolutely one of a kind.


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Touch Gold, photo by Laura

Vino Rosso is Touch Gold’s great-grandson. (Curlin – Mythical Bride by Street Cry) Mythical Bride’s dam, Flaming Heart, is by Touch Gold. Vino Rosso made an exciting run to win the Wood Memorial last month. Class will tell, and Vino Rosso’s got class.


2018 Kentucky Oaks, Friday, May 4, 6:12 pm Eastern Time

After this impressive Derby procession of Old Friends descendants, it seems disappointing that only one descendant will be vying for this year’s Oaks—until you consider whose descendant she is.

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Williamstown, photo by Laura

Monomoy Girl, a favorite after her win in the Ashland Stakes (G1), is a great-granddaughter of Williamstown. (Tapizar – Drumette by Henny Hughes). Williamstown sired her second dam (maternal grandmother), Endless Parade.

Williamstown (1990-2015), one of Seattle Slew’s best sons and one of Old Friends’ most beautiful and impressive retirees, shone on the racetrack but seemed fated never to be represented by any championship progeny—until now?

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Williamstown’s eye, photo by Beth

Doesn’t this make your Oaks pick easy?



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April 5, 2018

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Monday was moving day for 14 of our residents who’d been living at our satellite farm down the road. Old Friends’ main farm is expanding due to the generosity of our supporters. To all our loyal friends who’ve made this possible, our warmest thanks! By bringing more of our horses to Dream Chase Farm we’re reducing our expenses, which in the longer run means we can give more horses a home while maintaining the high standard of care each and every one of them deserves. If you’ve visited, donated, or recommended Old Friends to others, the wonderful changes shown in this blog post are your doing.

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Look at all the new fencing! If you’ve visited lately you probably noticed it on the south side of the farm. Your tour guide may have mentioned that more land would be in use. When? When the run-in sheds could be built for the horses in each pasture. When the waterers could be installed and the water lines hooked up. When the ground could be cleared to ensure the safety of the horses.

At last, that “when” is now. Three of the new pastures now have horses living in them, and more will soon follow. Here are the snapshots I took of them this morning.

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Like the “back 40,” this part of the farm will have its own stalls for any horses receiving in-stall care when keeping a horse closer to his or her home pasture is safer and more convenient than traveling to and from the main barn.

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One of the three new pastures with a waterer in the foreground.

Here’s a newly installed waterer. We’ve used this kind in the newer paddocks for a few years and the horses really like them. The blue is a ball that floats on top of the water. To drink, a horse noses the ball aside. This motion keeps the water from forming thick ice during the winter and the ball also acts as a cover, keeping the water cooler and cleaner in the summer.

The above is also a bona fide photo of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Cajun Beat. One of these four horses is him.

So who-all moved in on Monday? The full list is:

Bent on Bourbon, Cajun Beat, Comma to the Top, Daytona, Fantastic Day, He Loves Me Not, Massone, Napoli Express, Old Mexico, Padua’s Pride, Porfido, Riversrunrylee, Secret Getaway, and Windy Land.

I alphabetized it so as not to favor anyone, but I hope some of these names stand out, either because of accomplishments on the track or because you’ve met and fallen in love with some of them at the main farm. For Daytona, Fantastic Day, He Loves Me Not, and Porfido, this is a welcome back home.  Riversrunrylee, Windy Land and Massone aren’t strangers at the main farm, either.

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Windy Land, 19 year old gelding by Mixed Pleasure out of Our Distant Star by Distant Land

Well, Windy Land couldn’t possibly be a stranger. Doesn’t he look like his dad, Mixed Pleasure? Windy Land never raced, but he’s a great-great-great-grandson of Seabiscuit.

I know Porfido has made fans of some of our visitors, character that he is. For whatever reason, he wasn’t into coming over and having his picture taken this morning. This is the best I could do.

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Porfido, 16 year old bay gelding by Mash One out of Piazza Venezia by Roy

Porfido is on the left. He was a multiple graded stakes winner in his home country, Chile. Who’s the chestnut on the right? Hard to tell – maybe Massone?

But Porfido’s lack of photo cooperation was nothing to Cajun Beat’s. Just after I took the photo of the waterer above, everybody in Cajun Beat’s paddock decided it was time for a nap.

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A peaceful morning snooze in their new home. Padua’s Pride is on the left. Cajun Beat might be the one on the right. Maybe.

Will the real Cajun Beat stand up? . . . When it’s time for sweet dreams in the April grass? Not a chance. Cajun Beat, a dark brown/bay 18 year old gelding, is by Grand Slam out of the Cure the Blues mare Beckys Shirt.

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L to R, Comma to the Top, Old Mexico, Windy Land

These three don’t sleep when carrots are in the offing. Neither does this guy, who’s always been a great favorite at the farm.

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Daytona, winner of the Hollywood Derby and Shoemaker Mile.

Daytona, foaled in Ireland, is a 14 year old gelding by Indian Ridge out of Kyka by Blushing John. Welcome back, beautiful.

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10 year old millionaire Comma to the Top is living on the main farm for the first time.

And welcome, Comma to the Top! Seems like just yesterday he was winning stakes race after stakes race. But that was then. Now, it’s about the carrots.

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Massone, 12 year old gelding by Menifee out of Stoneleigh’s Hope by Damascus

Massone was no slouch on the track, either, and he’s having fun making friends with everyone. People, that is. When the horses moved, it was decided to keep them all in the same herds as before the move. This is to help them feel secure as they get used to their new surroundings. As time goes on and they get used to this farm, any changes in who does well with whom will be taken into account. Adjustments of this kind are always ongoing.

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Old Mexico, a 6 year old gelding by Kodiak Kowboy out of Leading Role by Demaloot Demashoot

Old Mexico, the youngster in the paddock, only raced 3 times, but he ranks fairly high in the pecking order. At first he didn’t know what to make of strangers with carrots, but it didn’t take him long to learn how fun that is.

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He Loves Me Not, 15 year old gelding by Not For Love out of Wewarrenju by Damascus

I think this horse, He Loves Me Not, had a lot to do with Old Mexico and Comma to the Top catching on so fast about coming up to the fence. “Love-Me,” as some of us call him, is an old hand at the main farm, and I admit he’s my favorite returning resident. So what if he was a claimer. This guy inherited a lot of his damsire Damascus’ steady good sense and kindness. He’s an absolute joy to be around. As are all of them.

As these 14 settle in, more paddocks are being readied, and soon more of our old and new friends will move into them. Thank you, all of you who have been loyal supporters and good friends to these Old Friends. It’s you who are making their happy times in these beautiful new homes possible.

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