Monthly Archives: December 2020

December 25, 2020

From as many of the horses on the main farm as I could get into it, here’s a video greeting card wishing you a happy holiday season.

Here are a few of those who participated.



new resident Tom’s Ready

Starspangled Heat

And two horses who didn’t come over to share season’s greetings, but look especially beautiful in these recent photos of Laura’s.

Miss Hooligan


All of us at Old Friends wish you a holiday season filled with joy, peace and hope.

photos by Laura


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December 18, 2020

Awesome Again (March 29, 1994 – December 15, 2020)

A few days ago our delighted anticipation of many good times with Awesome Again changed abruptly to inconsolable sadness when the great athlete and sire suddenly died. The reason was not apparent and necropsy results are pending. Though he spent such a sadly short time with at Old Friends, for many years Awesome Again was such a towering presence in the Kentucky Bluegrass that the many people who saw him at Adena Springs knew, respected, and loved him.

Awesome Again at age 16, photographed by Kate Dunn at Adena Stallions in 2007.

His resume is beyond impressive. By Deputy Minister out of Primal Force (by Blushing Groom) who also foaled Macho Uno, Awesome Again was bred and raced by Stronach Stables, trained by David Hofmans, then Patrick Byrne, and ridden to his greatest victories by Mike Smith in 1997 and Pat Day in 1998. His most prestigious wins include the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), 1998 Whitney H (G1), 1998 Stephen Foster H (G2), 1998 Saratoga Breeders’ Cup H (G2), 1998 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3), 1997 Jim Dandy S (G2), and 1997 Queen’s Plate. He vanquished such greats as Silver Charm, Touch Gold (also by Deputy Minister), and Skip Away. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

After his four year old campaign, he entered stud at Adena Springs and achieved even more lasting status as a sire of champions whose influence will be seen in pedigrees for generations to come. His best progeny include Horse of the Year and influential sire Ghostzapper, Game On Dude, Breeders’ Cup winners Round Pond, Ginger Punch and Wilko, Preakness winner Oxbow, Belmont winner Sir Winston, and top flight graded stakes winners Paynter, Awesome Gem, Spun Sugar, Toccet, Bravazo, and other formidable achievers.

Awesome Again at Adena Springs in the latter part of his stud career. Photo by Laura Battles.

His arrival at Old Friends, October 30, 2020

Losing such a great horse is hard. But Awesome Again was more than that. He was such a personality, so calm, so in command, so professional and smart and gracious, that we’d already come to love him deeply. I know many of you reading this also loved him and hoped to visit him soon. Whether you knew him much longer and better than we did, or through visits to Adena Springs, or through his exceptional sons and daughters, his effect on all who came in contact with him was unforgettable.

This photo and video, “Remembering Awesome Again,” doesn’t begin to do him justice. With tours suspended for the winter and our staff and volunteers taking care to observe pandemic precautions, not so many people were fortunate enough to photograph him at Old Friends, and those photos that are available are mostly of his head looking out of his stall window, or at dusk, or in the fly mask he wore for the first few days to protect his eyes from irritation. I’ve done my best to pay him tribute, but his dignity, graciousness and charisma deserve more. We’re heartbroken. We were deeply honored to have been his home for awhile.



Photos of Awesome Again
at Old Friends by Laura Battles



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December 13, 2020

It’s hard not to be able to welcome visitors to the farm when we’re bursting with excitement over our several wonderful new residents! How we wish we could proudly show them off and give their fans and other horse lovers the opportunity to spend some quality, in-person time with them! Until then, here’s an Old Friends Blog Visit video with our three biggest new celebrities.

1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and leading sire for decades, Awesome Again

2002 and 2003 Santa Anita Handicap winner, Milwaukee Brew

Multiple graded stakes winner, Silver Max
(after a roll in the mud)

Also featured in the video are Birdstone, who’s settled nicely into his new life, and Carole Oates, to whose skilled and vigilant care the horses at the main farm have thrived. Carole, her husband and her retired sport horse have moved to warmer weather and new adventures. We—humans and horses—will miss her.

You’ll find the video below, but first I want to share a few glimpses of other residents shared by Laura. They’re not in the video but some are old favorites and one is a new girl on the farm.

Touch Gold makes his signature entrance
Riva Way, son of Tinners Way. Can you believe Riva is about to turn 22?
Special Ring and Popcorn Deelites share an affectionate moment
(actually Ringy and Pops do appear in the video)
Pollard’s Vision



Hi Dubai

Our new mare, Hi Dubai, was foaled and did most of her racing in Great Britain. She’s by Rahy out of Jood, a daughter of Nijinsky II. She raced for Godolphin, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and won the 2003 R. L. Davison Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket. The following fall she came to North America where she raced third in a stakes at Woodbine with Frankie Dettori up. Afterward she was a broodmare in both Great Britain and America until her retirement to Old Friends by LNJ Foxwoods, whose support has meant much to Old Friends through these difficult times. We’re also grateful to LNJ Foxwoods for donating Mystery Trip and Gold Round to us—two distinguished and very sweet girls we’ve quickly fallen in love with. Hi Dubai is 20 years old and a full sister to Fantastic Light. She’ll appear in a video soon.

Now for this week’s Old Friends Blog Visit.

photos by Laura


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