Monthly Archives: May 2018

May 30, 2018

Most of what goes on at Old Friends is about happiness. Keeping the horses healthy, secure and happy. Facilitating fun visits for the many guests who come to admire them. Witnessing joyful reunions between our residents and their former connections and longtime fans. We wish we could do all these things for each resident for the next 30 years. Sometimes the joy is so complete it feels like it’ll go on forever. But youngish horse or old, long retirement or all too brief, we provide for the final stage of horses’ lives, and now that we’re responsible for more than 200 horses, the number who pass each year has grown, too. Every Memorial Day we join our supporters and friends who can gather at the Georgetown farm. Together we remember the horses who have passed during the year. This year we shared fond memories of sixteen horses and a goat.

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Hard Luck Duck, Versailles Road, Our Revival, Tour of the Cat

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Early Pioneer, Ukiah, Private Zone, Come on Flip, Tinners Way

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Bonapaw, Burrwood, Diamond Stripes, Hidden Dark, Catlaunch

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Winston. Google the goat has a memorial plaque and Midnight Secret’s grave is at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, New York, where he lived.

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Michael delivered the eulogies. And yes, as always they brought tears at times and smiles at others. Such a wide range of characters leave behind tales and memories as varied, and as improbable and humorous at times as the individual horses themselves.

Steadfast friend of Come on Flip and others, Dr. Val Nicholson, concluded with her remeniscences and insights, and this year saw the beginning of what I hope will become a Memorial Day tradition. Those who wished to share their memories of those who had passed were invited to write them down.

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In former years, memories were shared aloud, which meant time constraints, hoping not to get up in front of people and cry, and that words spoken are words soon lost. Now these memories of the horses we all loved can be shared with a wider circle of people, many of whom couldn’t attend the gathering, and now we can keep them.

My own and other staff and volunteers’ remembrances can be found in blog posts of the past year, so rather than giving them short shrift here, I urge you to look back over those photos and words. But not all are represented there. Some, most of us at the main farm didn’t know, or didn’t know well. So this post remembers them all, not with words invented about them by humans, but in their own images.

20180529 Bonapaw

BONAPAW (1996-2017)
Sabona – Pawlova (Nijinsky II)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Burrwood

BURRWOOD (1994-2018)
Bayou Hebert – All Zip (Royal Trio)

 

20180529 Catlaunch

CATLAUNCH (2001-2018)
Noble Cat – Skilaunch (Relaunch)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Come On Flip

COME ON FLIP (1991-2017)
Commemorate – Phillippe Dancer (Sovereign Dancer)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Diamond Stripes

DIAMOND STRIPES (2003-2017)
Notebook – Romantic Summer (On to Glory)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Early Pioneer
EARLY PIONEER (1995-2018)
Rahy – Golden Darling (Slew O Gold)
photo by Laura Battles

 

Hay Duck

HARD LUCK DUCK (1990-2018)
Duck Dance – Me Bright Two (Rebel Cause)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Hidden Dark

HIDDEN DARK (1990-2018)
Ferdinand – Hidden Light (Majestic Light)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Midnight Secret

MIDNIGHT SECRET (1997-2017)
Key Contender – Flannel Sheets (Triocala)
photo by Connie Bush

 

20180529 Our Revival

OUR REVIVAL (2000-2018)
Ide – Flashy Revival (Grand Revival)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Private Zone

PRIVATE ZONE (2009-2018)
Macho Uno – Auburn Beauty (Siphon)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Tinners Way

TINNERS WAY (1990-2018)
Secretariat – Devon Diva (The Minstrel)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Tour of the Cat - Rick C

TOUR OF THE CAT (1998-2018)
Tour d’Or – Tune into the Cat (Tunerup)
photo by Rick Capone

 

20180529 Ukiah

UKIAH (2002-2018)
Unbridled’s Song – Dixie Pearl (Dixieland Band)
photo by Laura Battles

 

20180529 Versailles Road - Cindy Grisolia

VERSAILLES ROAD (2006-2017)
Street Cry – Not Offensive (Deputy Commander)
photo by Cindy Grisolia

 

20180504 Winston 2

WINSTON (1994-2018), who resided at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs and whose retirement with us was heartbreakingly brief

 

2017 08 21 - Google

GOOGLE, companion of Eldaafer on the track and in retirement

 

Beth

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May 15, 2018

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Catlaunch 2001-2018

 

Everybody on the farm loved Catlaunch, and “the Cat” loved everybody. Here are some thoughts about him by three of his daily companions, some of his many friends, some of the people with whom he shared special bonds.

 

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“Catlaunch was one of the most gentle horses I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Cat and I had a connection. Both being buckeyes how couldn’t we? As soon as he would hear my voice his ears would perk up and he would look for me. I’ll sure miss the big guy. He was one of my best friends.”  – Marisa Miller.

 

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“Catlaunch was grace and kindness. He was quiet power and steady strength. Catlaunch was patient with us and loyal to those who loved him. He knew. Our gentle giant is gone but I honor the warmth and love he brought to my heart.” – Lisa Wood.

 

Another of the Cat’s close friends, Joey Steiner, didn’t put his words in writing. Even now, it’s not easy to say goodbye to him. But Joey told me of his admiration for Catlaunch’s courage as a racehorse and in retirement. He spoke lovingly of the tall, handsome bay’s spirit as he fought the neurological issues that eventually ended his life, and of his gentle, intelligent way of relating to people, and of his infinite kindness.

 

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Catlaunch (L) with Game On Dude

20180515 Catlaunch w Michael Gonzalez

He loved visiting with his former exercise rider, Michael Gonzalez.

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Catlaunch taking a carrot from Michael’s mouth.

 
You made us more than we’d been before, Catlaunch. In losing you, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Beth
Photos by Laura

20180515 Catlaunch LB 5

 

 

 

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May 11, 2018

Living with horses means living with extreme highs and lows. Even as we celebrate the bright young stars in a remarkably strong group of three-year-olds now racing, we’re saddened by the loss of our retirees, Catlaunch at our Georgetown Farm, and Tour of the Cat at our Kentucky Downs location.

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Tour of the Cat (1998-2018), photo by Beth

Tour of the Cat, a son of Tour d’Or out of Tune in to the Cat (by Tunerup), was foaled May 3, 1998 in Florida and did much of his best racing there. Through his grandsire, Medaille d’Or, he was a great-grandson of Secretariat. He participated in the early stages of the 2001 Kentucky Derby trail with a second place finish in the Flamingo Stakes (G3) at Hialeah. His 10 stakes wins include the Miami Beach Handicap (G3) and Spend A Buck Handicap (G3) at Calder. When he needed to step down at age 11, Maggie Moss claimed him for retirement at Old Friends in 2009.

During his retirement, Tour of the Cat lived at our Georgetown farm, and most recently at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, where he was a favorite with farm manager Jennifer Jones and his many visitors.

I’ll always remember Tour of the Cat as a proud guy with a mind of his own. He could be a bit fiery. These qualities carried him through his hard-knocking athletic career, but as he settled into retirement and maturity, he showed us how much kindness he also had. At all stages of his life, Tour of the Cat had heart. Up here in Georgetown and down in Franklin he will be missed by many.

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Catlaunch (2001-2018), photo by Laura

How to say goodbye to Catlaunch? Frankly, I think all of us at the main farm, as well as his connections and friends, haven’t quite managed that yet. Because he lived for so long in the front paddock with Game On Dude, then during his battle with his neurological condition spent so much time in the barn area, where he continued to meet and greet his visitors with unfailing loving gentleness, he was a constant in our lives, a mainstay, an especially close family member. I’ve asked a few staff and volunteers who were special to Catlaunch to contribute a few words about him, which I hope to post next week.

Both of these horses are very much in our hearts.

Beth

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May 7, 2018

Congratulations to
Justify (Ogygian’s great-great-grandson), Kentucky Derby winner,
Monomoy Girl (Williamstown’s great-granddaughter), Kentucky Oaks winner,

and all their connections, friends and fans!

Special thanks to all who partied with us yesterday at the 2018 Old Friends Homecoming, and grateful congratulations to all who won racing memorabilia and other cool stuff at the Homecoming auctions! In case you couldn’t be there, I caught a few snapshots of the fun.

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By Sunday all that Derby day rain had sailed far away. Race fans and other horse lovers reunited for good conversation in the spring sunshine, music by Shades of Grass, a Proud Mary BBQ dinner, and bar in the barn. Looks like this snapshot captured a moment of deep speculation…about the coming Preakness maybe?

20180507 Silver Charm gracious host

As always, Silver Charm played the gracious host. He listened as his fans recounted his 1997 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and other racing victories. He posed for photos. And yes, I saw him steal a kiss from an admirer or two.

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The bidding at the silent and live auctions got hot and heavy. No kidding, with Danzig, Storm Cat, Curlin and Gun Runner halters up for grabs. Old Friends is grateful to all who donated this year’s especially wonderful items, and to all who contributed toward this highly successful fundraiser on behalf of our equine residents.

20180507 Viv photographs photographer of SC

An OF Blog photo of an OF Facebook photo in the making? Viv captures a photographer capturing a photograph of Silver Charm.

See those two bottles next to Viv? She put them there to protect a guest who turned up uninvited. Maybe he even gate-crashed. But he became one of the party’s guests of honor…

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Norman the toad

And what party could be complete without…

20180507 Ring does his tat thing

…Special Ring doing his thing. “Show you my tat if you’ll show me one of those orange things.” Popcorn Deelites, as always, refuses to show his identifying tattoo. “I’m actually Seabiscuit! Really I am. It’s on film!”

If you couldn’t make it to Derby season Homecoming, the great news is that with this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs, this year Old Friends fun is a daily double. You heard it here first – your warm invitation to attend our fall 2018 Breeders’ Cup party the Sunday after Breeders’ Cup at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Beth

 

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May 4, 2018

A heartbroken goodbye to little Winston who died at Park Equine Hospital due to a stomach infection. In his brief time with us, Winston was patient, kind, friendly and sweet natured. We wish so much we could have shared many years with him.

20180504 Winston

Long a star at the Kentucky Derby Museum, Winston provided companionship for two decades to a series of retired racehorses residing at the Museum’s stable, including Phantom on Tour who ran in Silver Charm’s 1997 Derby, Perfect Drift who finished third in War Emblem’s 2002 running, and during a visit a few years ago, 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

But Winston was no second fiddle. He had plenty of achievements in his own right, including throwing the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game, performing proposals in his “Will You Marry Me?” blanket, and handicapping Derby results for Churchill Downs. Time to retire coincided with an expansion of the Kentucky Derby Museum into the area formerly occupied by that organization’s stable, and Old Friends was honored to provide what we hoped would be a longtime home and new fun meeting and greeting his fans in retirement.

You could tell Winston enjoyed being led out by Michael or others of us to be admired, petted and loved on by visitors. He already knew all there was to know about being adored. He and Little Silver Charm enjoyed being grazed together, he was gentle with children and friendly to all.

Winston will be greatly missed by many, not just this Derby season but always.

Beth

20180504 Winston 2

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