Monthly Archives: February 2021

February 26, 2021

Stormy Liberal munches some hay

Last week’s severe weather swept over Kentucky, leaving several inches of snow, thick ice, and serious cold. As Laura’s photos show, some horses like to play in the snow as much as kids. A horse’s thermoregulatory system, the internal heaters their bodies have, keeps them comfortable in cold weather. It’s pretty miraculous how hardy horses are.

Popcorn Deelites and Special Ring

Little Mike

You and I

Saratoga Episode (L) and Slim Shadey

Thermoregulation seems like a super-power. I wish we humans had it! But it does burn a lot of energy, so when the weather turned mild a few days ago, and the snow began thawing, and the footing became easier in the paddocks, the horses all relaxed. The older ones rested contentedly and the younger ones played more happily than ever.

The snow was well on its way to disappearing when I caught the clips of them in the video below, Old Friends Blog Visit 32, The Snow’s Gone. It features Silver Charm, Sun King, Touch Gold, Little Mike, Game On Dude, Afternoon Deelites, Arson Squad, Fighting City Hall, Soi Phet, Persie, Hogy, Eye of the Tiger, Special Ring, Popcorn Deelites, Patch, Stormy Liberal, Silver Max, You and I, Ide, and Pollard’s Vision.

And it makes special visits to our two new stars, Bellamy Road and Sharp Samurai.

Bellamy Road during the snow, taken by Laura

Bellamy Road, a 19 year old stallion, is a Florida-bred by Concerto out of Hurry Home Hillary by Deputed Testamony. Owned by Kinsman Stable and trained by Nick Zito, he earned $811,400 on the track. In 2005 he won the most impressive running of the Wood Memorial (G1) of all time. Taking charge of the race at the start, he controlled the pace with a mighty stride throughout and powered away to a 15 length lead under a hand ride from Javier Castellano. The record of 1 1/8 mile in 1:47.16 he set on the Aqueduct track that day still stands.

Watch Bellamy Road win the 2005 Wood Memorial

Unsurprisingly, he went off as the favorite in the 2005 Kentucky Derby. Though Giacomo won that race, Bellamy Road ran a valiant second in the 2005 Travers (G1), setting the pace and nearly holding on to win. At stud, his foals included muliple Grade 1 winner, now Old Friends retiree, Diversify and Old Friends retiree Brilliant Decision.


Sharp Samurai, taken a few days later by Beth (look how much less snow!)

Sharp Samurai arrived at Old Friends a few weeks ago, having retired from the track. He’s a 7 year old gelding by First Samurai out of Secret Wish, a daughter of Street Cry. Through his dam, Sharp Samurai is a great-grandson of Awesome Again. Turf was his surface, and his graded stakes wins at Del Mar and Santa Anita netted his owning partnership more than $1 million. Co-owner Mark Glatt trained him, and Gary Stevens rode him to his most notable victories. Sharp Samurai could race in any style. He won on the lead, and he won running from far back. He didn’t mind, he just liked to win.

Watch Sharp Samurai’s victory in the 2017 Del Mar Derby

Old Friends is proud that these two exceptional retired athletes now call our Georgetown farm home.

Old Friends Blog Visit 32 The Snow’s Gone!


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February 11, 2021

Old Friends at Ashton Grove (last September when the weather was nice)

Last Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Old Friends welcomed a new resident to our Ashton Grove location. Ashton Grove Senior Community in Georgetown, Kentucky is home to sixteen of Old Friends’ Thoroughbred retirees. Three herds occupy three pastures. The first herd, who have long lived together at the main farm, may be familiar to many main farm visitors as “the red guys” because four out of the five of them are chestnuts. Now known as Ashton Grove’s “Founding Five,” they are Secret Getaway, Porfido (the only bay in the bunch), Ireland’s Eye, Massone, and one of the farm’s three stars, multiple graded stakes winner Daytona.

A smaller herd of three live in the middle pasture. All came straight to Ashton Grove on retirement but one is well known to racing fans: Magic Weisner who finished second to War Emblem in the 2002 Preakness Stakes. Magic Weisner is accompanied by his longtime friend, Bo’s a Ten, who is a daughter of our much-loved and much-missed Patton (1991-2014). She resembles her dad. The third member of that herd is another mare, Millie’s Thunder, a daughter of 1995 Derby winner Thunder Gulch and granddaughter of the great Gulch (one of Old Friends’ most revered retirees from 2009 until his passing in 2016). Millie’s Thunder raced only once. The thirteen year old mare has lived a life of ups and downs that eventually led to a slaughter auction. Thanks to the loving and practical help of Shirley Ford, Millie’s Thunder’s life turned around last fall. Under the care of John Bradley, manager of Old Friends at Ashton Grove, Millie has regained her health and high spirits. She’s the sweetest horse on the farm and has become the darling of the residents and staff of the Ashton Grove Senior Community.

And then there’s the third herd. They’re a motley crew of eight who came from four different herds on the main farm. At first four twosomes, they’ve now formed a herd with a clear pecking order and social life. They are Brilliant Decision (no star, but the herd boss), Wake Forest (he’s the star, having won the 2016 Man o’ War Stakes (G1)), Litigate, Talk Logistics, Padua’s Pride, Falcon Scott, Palmer’s Approach, and Riversrunrylee.

Those are the sixteen Thoroughbreds. But, as I mentioned, a new resident has now moved in at Ashton Grove.

Christy Cassidy, who donated Winston to OF, bought him to live at Ashton Grove last Tuesday.

Miniature horse Winston had a famous namesake. Er, well, not Sir Winston Churchill. The pinto mini was named by his former owner, Christy Cassidy, for the longtime miniature resident of the Kentucky Derby Museum, who retired to Old Friends and passed in 2018. This Winston, unofficially Winston II, is a 13 year old gelding with the perfect resume for Ashton Grove since he’s an experienced senior community and nursing home visitor.

His love for people—not to mention his cuteness—may give Millie’s Thunder a run for her money as Ashton Grove’s darling with the community’s residents and staff, and his experience and indoors manners should also make him a favorite visitor in Ashton Grove’s memory unit. This little guy is really something special.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Here are Ashton Grove’s Thoroughbred residents and the arrival of new resident Winston.


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