Monthly Archives: June 2020

June 28, 2020

The biggest news on the farm is the arrival of Poshsky. I’m putting together a video showing him settling in, which I expect to post here in the next few days. He’s a good looking, refined, 10 year old bay with a cute face and sweet nature who won the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at five but by age ten, having dropped to low claiming levels, was winless all year. Clearly, it was time for him to hang up his boxing gloves. Now he has, and he’s full of curiosity about his new home. Stay tuned for an Old Friends Blog Visit with Poshsky in a few days!

Meanwhile…

Sokitumi Samurai

I’d like to share more of the great photos Laura took last week. Sokitumi Samurai isn’t the only horse on the farm who’s smiling these days. The horses on the main tour route are all showing, in their own ways, how pleased they are that tours have resumed. They’ve been getting the usual attention from the barn staff all along of course, and Michael and Diane have made the rounds of the farm with several buckets of carrots each evening, and the office staff also bring treats. Laura and I have scheduled our evening photography and video sessions intentionally so that we’re there on different evenings. Not because of social distancing – it’s a big farm – but to give the horses twice as many evenings when one of us comes around with treats, attention and mane combings or back scratches. But if we ever doubted that the tours matter to the horses – which we didn’t – their enjoyment is obvious. They’re making it clear how much they appreciate their visitors as well as their treats.

Amazombie

Horses are creatures of habit and find security in regular, predictable schedules, and the return of two regular daily events, at 10 am and 1 pm, return restores a routine that I think they missed. Nicanor and Sarava have started watching the parking paddock as 10 am and 1 pm approach. Nicanor is positioning himself near the gate again at tour times. While the horses not on the main tour route have seemed as cheerful as ever during the last months, some of the ones on the front of the farm were noticeably a little glum. Not Sun King or Afternoon Deelites, who have been bouncy as ever, but Touch Gold and Eye of the Tiger, and Nicanor, are all showing definite signs that they’re happy these days.

Little Mike

As for new guys Pollard’s Vision, Patch and Stormy Liberal, they think all these visits and treats are just great!

For the horses up at the back and over on the side, this mild spring and summer have brought the usual fair weather pleasures of relaxation, green grass and peaceful nap times under the sun or in the shade, as each horse prefers.

Disturbingthepeace

 

Brilliant Decision

This photo of Brilliant Decision isn’t the most flattering Laura took, but I’m especially fond of it because his expression looks so much like his grandpa, Ogygian. Brilliant Decision is very much himself, and quite different from his damsire in personality (except for also absolutely despising peppermints), but I love these little flashes of family resemblance.

Windy Land

Speaking of family resemblance, Mixed Pleasure was a handsome guy, and so is his son, Windy Land. Windy Land pretty much rules his herd in the paddock just beyond the tree line from Brilliant Decision and Wake Forest.

 

Winning Dubai

Winning Dubai and Kalamos are doing great, as is Talk Logistics who is making a friendly companion for his new paddock mate Palmer’s Approach. Neither of these guys is much into the politics of living in a big herd full of extroverts and both seem to be thriving on just having one very nice companion.

Talk Logistics

 

Johannesbourbon

Johannesbourbon, on the other hand, is a bit of an achiever and quite the extrovert. He’s moved up in the pecking order of his herd, now ranking higher than all but his close cousin, Cherono.

 

Hussonfirst

Hussonfirst, a sociable and easygoing horse, does well with whatever companions he lives with. Currently, his herd are his longtime buddies Fabulous Strike, Sokitumi Samurai and Marshall Rooster, as well as newer herd members Comma to the Top and Fantastic Day.

And I saved the cutest photo for last…

Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George

Beth
photos by Laura

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June 24, 2020

If you read the racing news and keep up with the rumor mill you may have picked up hints that Old Friends is seeing some arrivals over the next weeks. Watch this spot, our Facebook page, and Twitter for developments. Meanwhile, this week’s Old Friends Blog Video celebrates a moment not at all new or unusual, but high on the horses’ priority list, and very much a part of behind-the-scenes life at Old Friends:  Evening feeding time.

I’m also thrilled to share some of Laura’s most gorgeous photos ever. Just when it seems her photographs couldn’t be any more wonderful she takes even more superlative ones than before.

Touch Gold

This one also got shared on our Twitter feed today, but twice as much of a good thing is all the better. Here’s 1997 Belmont winner Touch Gold, who’s now 26, in all his compact power and beauty.

 

Starspangled Heat (L) and Slim Shadey

Starspangled Heat, and Slim Shadey who’s joined him in his paddock, are firming up a promising friendship.

Eldaafer appears in this week’s Old Friends Blog Visit. Though arguably, Yahoo stars.

Star Plus

One of my favorite things about this photo session is that Laura focused her camera on some of the horses who live away from the main tour path. Those who visited the farm some five or six years ago may remember what a character Star Plus is. He’s happily settled in with a herd that includes Windy Land, He Loves Me Not, and…

Kharafa

and…

King Kreesa

This herd appears in Old Friends Blog Visit 11, posted last month. Racing fans will remember King Kreesa and Kharafa as rivals against each other and against Old Friends retiree Lubash. These days, I can’t say King Kreesa and Kharafa particularly hang out together, but they do get along in peaceable calm in their herd’s shady paddock.

Slamming (L) and Summer Attraction

Riva Way, son of Tinner’s Way and grandson of Secretariat

Discreet Hero

Cost Affective

Brilliant Decision and Wake Forest

For more beautiful photos check our Facebook page and Twitter feed. I’ll be posting more here, too, in a few days.

For now, the horses invite you to dine with them. Grab a scoop of senior feed, take a seat and join them for a few minutes!

Beth
photos by Laura

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June 17, 2020

Pollard’s Vision (foreground) and Ide

Tours are now happening at Old Friends, and boy, are the horses on the tour route happy about that! In compliance with CDC guidelines and those of the Kentucky Department of Health, the tours are for groups of up to five people by reservation only. For full information, please click here. We hope to see you soon!

The horses don’t know about guidelines. They do know their admirers are back and they’re getting more carrots. That’s the way they like it.

You and I

I’d been planning an Old Friends Blog Visit video about the descendants of various legendary horses who live on the farm, starting with Seattle Slew, but thinking about how great it is that some of you finally get to see the horses reminded me of all our horses’ fans and friends who won’t be able to spend time in person with them yet.

So I’ve postponed the Slew plan for next time. Instead, this week’s Old Friends Blog Visit is dedicated to all of you who’d like to tour the farm in person but can’t do that right now.

Patch

This video is my best attempt to give a sense of what it would be like if you came to the farm for a June tour. Though it’s 15 minutes instead of 90, it visits all the horses our current tours visit, and like most of the tours we’re doing just now, it somewhat favors our supporters and repeat visitors, those of you who know and love the horses. Instead of me running my mouth a lot, this video mostly just spends a little time with each of the horses, as if you and I were hanging out with them.

Sun King

Spoiler: Sun King is in it. Again. He wants to race. Again. Cliff-hanger question:  Does he get anybody to race with him this time? Hint: Here’s a photo of Eye of the Tiger.

Eye of the Tiger

Stormy Liberal

The horses featured are Afternoon Deelites, Popcorn Deelites, Special Ring, Patch, Stormy Liberal, You and I, Pollard’s Vision, Ide, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Smooth Air, Sun King, Eye of the Tiger, Little Silver Charm, Einstein, Green Mask, Touch Gold, Game On Dude, Little Mike, Hogy, Soi Phet, Sarava and Nicanor.

Popcorn Deelites (top) and Special Ring

Little Mike (near) and Game on Dude

Nicanor

Soi Phet (L) and Hogy

What about Silver Charm, the star of the farm? Well, as many of you know, what Silver Charm wants, Silver Charm gets. And Silver Charm most definitely wants to spend nights in his stall and days in his paddock. You should see how he pressures the barn crew when they’re late bringing him inside in the evenings. If a horse can give the impression of a person with hands on hips, tapping his foot with impatience, it’s Silver Charm when he’s decided it’s time to come in. So, since I film after closing in the evenings, he’s always in the barn. I’ll see if I can arrange a session to catch some good video of him outside before long.

Alphabet Soup also makes a very brief appearance in the barn in this video. That’s because it’s hot summer now. He and Gorgeous George are spending nights outside but days inside. To protect our essential barn crew from exposure, tours are currently not going into the barn. Since Alphabet Soup is outdoors in the evening I’ll make a spotlight segment about him soon. Before that, I’ve heard a rumor that the Old Friends Virtual Tours will soon feature Alphabet Soup and Michael.

For now, it’s my pleasure to join you in a virtual version of a June visit with some of our most-loved favorites on the farm.

Beth
photos by Laura

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June 10, 2020

Stallions, and most male horses gelded after years of stud duty, tend to regard their paddock as their territory and do not want another male horse in it. They seem to see themselves as solitary monarchs of their realms. Most stallions also behave as if they outrank geldings. But not all geldings agree.

Amazombie (foreground) and Rapid Redux

This week’s Old Friends Blog Visit features friendship between paddock mates. What are its pleasures? How are bonds formed?

The video stars:

Einstein

 

Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George

Touch Gold, Amazombie and Rapid Redux, Slim Shadey and Starspangled Heat, Wake Forest and Brilliant Decision, Racketeer, Diversify,

Little Silver Charm

 

Soldat

 

Johannesburg Smile

…and Bourbonize, plus a cameo appearance by Arson Squad and Fighting City Hall

Arson Squad

 

 

Beth
photos by Laura

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June 6, 2020

Summer has settled in at last. With things so quiet on the farm, the horses are spending their time munching good green grass, dozing in the shade, and playing in the cool of the morning and evening.

Game On Dude and Little Mike raising dust together

 

As usual, there are some changes. The week before last, when Archie’s Echo moved to a stall for extra care and did his turn-out time close to the barn, Northern Stone moved into his old paddock to keep Dinard company. Northern Stone is a quiet, easy going horse, as is Dinard, and the two have taken to one another.

Northern Stone (L) keeps Dinard company

 

Alphabet Soup (R) and his buddy Gorgeous George

Now that the days are hot and the mildest temperatures happen at night, 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup and his inseparable friend Gorgeous George have gotten back into the rhythm of their summer schedule, in the barn by day, out by night. This means that Green Mask is now spending his days in that paddock and his nights in his stall.

 

Afternoon Deelites

Afternoon Deelites and Silver Charm don’t switch schedules seasonally. Silver Charm has mandated that he gets the paddock behind Michael’s house by day but wants to spend nights in his stall. Afternoon Deelites doesn’t mind. Spending his days in the barn under a fan and ranging free in his paddock at night suits him just fine.

 

Sun King

Sun King, a much younger horse, is up for playing pretty much any time, as is his next door neighbor, Smooth Air, seen here holding a party with some geese in his lakefront property.

Smooth Air and friends

 

Our new residents are all comfortably settled in. If this spring’s cloud has a silver lining it’s the chance the new guys have gotten to get to know their surroundings, the people taking care of them and their neighbors in the nearby paddocks, in confidence-building peace. Every one of the new guys is relaxed, happy, and more than ready for admiration and oodles of carrots.

 

Stormy Liberal

 

Pollard’s Vision

 

Patch

 

Everybody’s also learned it’s a wonderful thing when people happen by with a bucket. Buckets at Old Friends are often full of those wonderful, juicy orange things!

Michael brings orange things to Patch. (Note hint of purple thing with handle. At Old Friends, purple things are often full of orange things!)

 

Pollard’s Vision knows as well as Ide does what’s in that yellow thing of Laura’s.

 

Pollard’s Vision (L), Ide and Patch like to hang out near each other in their paddocks. Pollard and Ide, being stallions, don’t want another horse in their paddock, but they do enjoy the company of their neighbors.

Though of course everyone’s eager to meet the new guys, I’ll bet you’d like to see how the longtime resident guys and girls are getting along, too. Here are some particularly beautiful photos Laura took several evenings ago.

 

You and I

What with Stormy Liberal, Patch and Pollard’s Vision moving in, You and I has new neighbors all around him, which is fine with him. He seems to like them all.

 

Sarava

2002 Belmont Stakes winner Sarava is perfectly happy to be surrounded by familiar faces–Nicanor, Game on Dude & Little Mike, and Soi Phet  & Hogy.

 

Miss Du Bois

Miss Du Bois seems to wish she saw more of Laura these days, but the number of photos Laura has taken of her over the past few months suggests they’re keeping their bond strong during Laura’s photographic evenings. Miss Du Bois is a sweet horse, but that loving look in her eye is her special one for Laura.

 

Tuneintobow

In the side paddocks, which aren’t on the regular tour route, not as much has changed this spring and summer. The tasty grass is pleasing everyone. It looks pretty rich this year, as you can see.

Easy Grades, with Saratoga Episode in the background

 

Affirmed Success (L) with his longtime best friend, Kudos

 

A yawn from Nobiz Like Shobiz

Something about Nobiz Like Shobiz’s expression suggests he’s getting tired of all the peace and quiet on the farm. If that’s so, I’d suggest he watch for news from Old Friends next week!

Beth
magnificent photos by Laura

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June 3, 2020

I’ve uploaded “Remembering Archie’s Echo,” a slide show honoring the memory of this unforgettable character. Many thanks to Laura, Rick, Mary and Cindy for the photography and quick responses to my requests for pictures!

Beth
photo by Rick Capone

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June 2, 2020

Archie’s Echo (1989-2020)
photo by Rick Capone

We thought he was indestructible, our beloved Archie. He was a survivor if there ever was one. He wasn’t much on an earner on the track, but he was a hard worker. We don’t know what he did in his middle years, but at the age of 26 Archie’s Echo ended up in a bad place awaiting a fate no horse should ever undergo. Archie got lucky. Sam Elliot, Vice President of Parx Racing, bought him, and Lorita Lindemann facilitated his retirement to Old Friends.

There’s more than one kind of class. Archie’s Echo was no great athlete, but he had courage, endurance, kindness, and an unquenchable sass all his own.

Dinard and Archie’s Echo

Most of the time you saw this side of Archie. Gentle, patient as he dealt with the aches and pains of old age, a hound for attention and carrots. Especially, carrots. But there was another side to Archie that came out only at times. Often when least expected. The guy could still run when he wanted to. And I mean, take off lightning fast and keep the gallop going longer than you’d think. Usually, at completely inconvenient times.

photo by Rick Capone

“Oh, Arch,” we’d say, half-exasperated, half-admiring. Archie had spunk. He had a mind of his own.

He looked every bit his age. Before he came to Old Friends he’d lost the sight in one eye. Due to dental problems he had to have his several teeth extracted, so that he ate his carrots shredded or cut in small pieces, and in his final years a few inches of tongue tended to loll. But he was a flashy, fire-red chestnut with a handsome blaze and good, solid bone mass. Even in old age he caught the eye. And kept it. Archie didn’t mind being a character when he knew that was appreciated.

Archie also liked being a character when it wasn’t appreciated. He was a little bossy with his paddock mates, as here, biting Dinard. But without many teeth it was only a duck-bite.

He was a sociable horse, with his paddock mates, and with people. Rather than eat out of separate feed tubs, he and his paddock mates often shared one tub.

Archie’s Echo with Dinard and Early Pioneer (1995-2018)

With people he was a sweet old charmer, kind to the children who visited, a gentleman with his adult friends, and usually peaceable and patient with those who cared for him. Archie was also a lot smarter than he let on. He didn’t miss a trick.

Archie knew how to work with you. He cooperated. But he did like to get his own way. In his own quiet way, he was quite a presence.

Archie enjoing acupuncture a few years ago

Though Archie was in a perilous state of malnutrition when he came to us in 2015, he knew it wasn’t time to go. As if he knew he’d ended up in the happiest situation of his already-long life, he hung on, survived, and thrived. Without hesitation, with his own signature brand of entitlement, Archie’s Echo marched right into our hearts and made his home there. We had fun together for five unforgettable, celebratory years.

photos by Laura Battles

 

Oh, Arch. How we’ll miss you!

 

Beth

 

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