Monthly Archives: September 2020

September 30, 2020

King Kreesa, Kharafa, He Loves Me Not, Windy Land and Star Plus in the rain

Feeling stressed? Here’s a tonic. The ingredients are simple. Horses. Rain.

When rain came two days ago I rushed over to the farm hoping to capture video of horses rolling in the mud, splashing in puddles and playing. Often they become kids in rainy weather. As I drove up, sure enough, Sun King was having himself a good, wet roll, but soon as he saw me he popped up, eager for carrots. By the time I was ready to shoot video he’d finished playing slime games and was doing what he’s done a lot of lately, hanging out with Birdstone. We wondered why Birdstone ignores his other neighbors but really likes being right across the fence from Sun King until we remembered that these two were Nick Zito trainees at the same time. Maybe they remember each other from the old days.

Be that as it may, Sun King was the one who asked for the carrots and camera time, and got them. Maybe Birdstone will want to star in another video soon. Meanwhile, I took a very wet stroll around the farm making clips of what the horses were doing in the rain. Most of them chose to be outside the run-in shelters they have in their paddocks.

Little Silver Charm, dry in this photo Laura took a few evenings earlier, was impressively wet. That’s by choice. He’s got one of the best run-in sheds on the farm, and the only one with pin-ups of Zenyatta on the walls.

Winning Dubai, also dry in this photo, was out for a stroll in the pleasantly temperate rain with his new best friend, Cost Affective. In this photo he’s with Rathor.

The video also shows what Soi Phet, Hogy, Photon, Johannesbourbon, Cherono, St. Aloysius, Winning Dubai, Bunker’s Edge, Star Plus, Kharafa, King Kreesa, Windy Land, He Loves Me Not, Mystery Trip and Gold Round were doing on a mild, soft, wet, evening at the close of September.

photos of Little Silver Charm,
Winning Dubai and Rathor are
by Laura



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September 24, 2020

A few evenings ago, as we head toward fall and the sun sets earlier, I took the iPad for a walk to the back of the farm. The weather was mild, the horses were contented and lazy, and I asked them all the same question. “Whatcha doin’?”

Game On Dude

Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George

The video below, Old Friends Blog Visit 25, shows the various answers they gave. I took the route up the hill to the back of the farm, hanging out a little with everybody along the way.

Amazombie (back) and Rapid Redux


Everybody who came over to say hello, that is. Some of the horses obviously had stuff of their own to do. That’s fine. Evenings at Old Friends are for horses to peacefully enjoy whatever it is they feel like doing.

Arson Squad (front) and Fighting City Hall

Oh-oh, them again. Johannesburg Smile and Bourbonize

As you’re probably guessing, the horses in the photos were some of the stars of this week’s video. It features Game On Dude, Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George, Touch Gold, Einstein, Amazombie, Rapid Redux, Arson Squad, Fighting City Hall, Diversify, Persie, Racketeer, Johannesburg Smile, Bourbonize, Easy Grades, Miss Du Bois, Elusive Honey, Kalamos, Lubash, MissZoey Belle, Saudi Poetry, and Forte Dei Marmi – in more or less that order – with glimpses of Little Mike, Classy Charm, Northern Stone, Ferocious Won, Stormy Passage, and Joey P, among others.

Miss Du Bois (chestnut) and Elusive Honey

Easy Grades (L) and Northern Stone

Forte Dei Marmi

I tried to get in as many horses as wanted to participate, but two of them sort of stole the show.

I hope you’ll enjoy this little look in on them to see what they’re up to these days.

photos by Laura


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September 16, 2020

Meet the two new girls, Mystery Trip and Gold Round. They’re as sweet as they are beautiful. See how Patch and Stormy Liberal are taking to sharing a paddock together, how The Pizza Man and Work All Week are settling in. Alphabet Soup is silver in the sunset and loving to his best buddy, Gorgeous George. This Old Friends Blog Visit also features Pollard’s Vision and Sun King, with glimpses of Special Ring & Popcorn Deelites, You and I, and Wake Forest & Brilliant Decision.

Patch (L) and Stormy Liberal

Stormy Liberal (L) and Patch


The Pizza Man and Work All Week with Special Ring and Popcorn Deelites (not an 8-legged horse) in the foreground

The Pizza Man


Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George

Pollard’s Vision

A little background about the new mares. Mystery Trip is by Belong to Me out of Secretariat’s great daughter, Weekend Surprise. In other words, Mystery Trip is half sister to A P Indy, Summer Squall and Honor Grades. Though unraced, she foaled winners to some very prestigious stallions. She’s now 19 years old.

Mystery Trip

Gold Round

Irish bred Gold Round is also close kin to legends. By the formidable Caerleon out of Born Gold by Blushing Groom, she is half sister to the great Goldikova. She was a Grade 3 winner in France, herself and also dam to winners. Though not flashy she’s gracefully put together and confident. Both mares are very friendly.

Sept. 17, 2020 – adding new photos of the mares by Laura.

Mystery Trip
Gold Round

I hope you’ll enjoy this little video about sharing paddocks and sharing love.

the good photos are by Laura
don’t blame Laura for the snapshots of the mares, though

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September 9, 2020

Derby week is over, and so is the limited run of Derby week tours at the Georgetown farm. The horses on the front of the farm have let us know how much they’ve enjoyed their week of meeting, greeting, getting lots of extra carrots, and being united with their admirers, whether old friends or new.

Rapid Redux (L) and Amazombie

All is, again, a little less entertaining than most of the horses would like. Birdstone is still doing his quarantine, getting used to new ways and new neighbors. His neighbors are also getting used to a new guy on the block, as you can see in this week’s Old Friends Blog Visit video, at the bottom of this post.

Since the horses on the front of the farm had so much tour and carrot fun last week, I took my ipad and treats off that route to see horses who haven’t been able to share in the tour action. This means The Pizza Man and Work All Week aren’t in the video, and Birdstone makes only a cameo appearance. I promise to focus the lens on them soon. Meanwhile, I hope it’ll be interesting catching up with the doings of some of the horses you may not have seen for awhile. To get to them, though, I had to pay dues in carrots to Soi Phet. Hogy was dozing in the run-in shed they share, so didn’t get into the video.

Soi Phet

…And Einstein, who clued me into the theme for this video:  “Getting to Know You.” He’s getting to know Birdstone, as are the other near neighbors.


And yes, I did look for a version of the song from “The King and I” to use in the video, but I didn’t find a licensed one. Oh, well. The horses made the theme quite clear.

Eye of the Tiger

Because Eye of the Tiger has changed paddocks and this means moving into a new “neighborhood” on the farm, with new horses on three sides to get to know. (He’s also getting a nice new paddock sign, by the way.)

Diversify and Joey P.

Joey P. and Diversify are peaceful across-the-way neighbors for Tiger. They hang near him enough to provide company, heads quietly over their fences, and when he’s not interested in company they have their own stuff to do. The same is true of Arson Squad and Fighting City Hall, who make appearances in the video.

But have you ever moved into a neighborhood and found out too late you have nosy neighbors?

Bourbonize (L) and Johannesburg Smile

Yes. Who else but the “Turrible Twosome,” Johannesburg Smile and Bourbonize. I always thought Afternoon Deelites was the biggest busy-body on the farm, the horse most eager to be in the thick of whatever is going on. He’s right up there, but I think Johannesburg Smile and Bourbonize currently have the prize.

I realize these two make it into more than their share of Old Friends Blog Visits … But they’re just so much ongoing fun.

Other horses featured are Amazombie, Touch Gold, Rail Trip, Cherono, Lion Hunter, Persie, and Northern Stone. So join them on a quiet early September evening when the grass has greened up nicely again and the sunset it at its most beautiful.

photos by Laura

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September 3, 2020

It’s an Old Friends Blog Derby tradition to present the Old Friends Angle for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. That is, which of the contenders in America’s top races for three year old colts and fillies are descendants of present or past residents of Old Friends?

Just as Saturday’s run for the roses will be unlike those of other years in so many ways, it also happens not to have the usual several starters whose pedigrees include OF retirees. Of course, Old Friends is extremely proud of our relationship with several human connections of these impressive young horses, whom we wish the very best of luck. So far as equine family goes, though, this year’s Derby features only two, Storm the Court and Thousand Words. Storm the Court is a son of Court Vision, one of the many illustrious sons of the great Gulch. Storm the Court will be starting from post position 4. Thousand Words is a great-grandson of 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given, himself a grandson of Gulch. Thousand Words starts as number 10.

Gulch (1984-2016) by Laura Battles

Three 2020 Kentucky Oaks contenders descend from past Old Friends residents. Here again, it’s no surprise to find the influential stallion, as well as champion in his own right, Gulch, in the ancestry of two. They’re Tempers Rising who’ll start as number 2, and Bayerness who’ll be number 6. Both of these fillies are by Bayern, whose dam Alittlebitearly is by Gulch’s most famous son, 1995 Derby winner Thunder Gulch.

But the very impressive favorite is Swiss Skydiver. She’ll start from post position 1. She’s by Daredevil out of Expo Gold whose sire is Johannesburg. And Johannesburg’s damsire is Ogygian (1983-2015).

Ogygian (1983-2015), taken Sept. 2013 by Laura Battles

As it happens, Swiss Skydiver’s representation of Ogygian in the Oaks coincides with something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Soon after joining Old Friends as farm manager, Tim Wilson made a 10 minute video of Ogygian, which he posted to Youtube, but afterward discontinued his Youtube channel. For all Ogygian’s fans who’ve been missing it, I’m delighted that Tim has given me permission to republish the video.

For those of you who didn’t know Ogygian, a few words. In this video Ogygian was 31 years old, an emormous age for a Thoroughbred. He was the grand old man of the neighborhood, having outlived his fellow 1983-foaled contemporaries Groovy, Tasso and even Storm Cat. Not just outlived, but continued to relish life. Ogygian had been through a lot, but in his case that was reason to enjoy every pleasure that came his way. He was incomparably wise, didn’t suffer fools gladly, was still fierce when he thought the occasion required, and the most generous being of any species I’ve ever known. He was also a master of manipulation. To get the most out of this video, keep in mind that among horses, the dominant one is the one who moves the others.

Tim was aware of this. We all indulged Ogygian. Not just because when this video was made in August 2014 he was convalescing from a throat ulcer (it healed), but because he was Ogygian.



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