Monthly Archives: July 2022

July 28, 2022

Yesterday was a sad day at the farm. We had to say goodbye to two valiant elders. We were coming to love them both very much. Swain and Dumaani lived most of their lives at Shadwell Farm until they joined Old Friends last March. Though we were privileged to care for them for all too short a time, both lived long and illustrious lives. Swain was thirty years old and Dumaani thirty-one.

Swain (Feb. 12, 1992 – July 27, 2022)


Dumaani (April 22, 1991 – July 27, 2022)

At their advanced ages, and both stallions had health conditions, but of course you always hope for a few more years. However, when our vet team determined that for differing reasons both were in pain with no prospect of improvement, it was all too clear that only one way remained to help them. Both spent several good months with us, received tours and other admirers with enjoyment, and were visited by friends who had cared for them at Shadwell. They were in sight and sound of other stallions who’d been at Shadwell with them. Both seemed to know they were loved.

Swain and Dumaani


Swain was foaled in Ireland and raced for Godolphin. Among his many victories were the Group 1 Coronation Cup, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and Irish Champion Stakes. He was Champion Older Male in England 1997-1998 and Champion Older Male in Ireland 1998. Among the foals he sired, maybe not the best but our favorite, is our own Falcon Scott, who is much like his dad in looks and sweetness.


Kentucky-bred Dumaani was a son of the great Danzig. He raced with distinction for Shadwell all over the world, with wins in the King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket, in Dubai, in the Keio Hai Spring Cup (G2) in Tokyo, and in the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) in Kentucky. At Saratoga he once finished second in a race with Kiri’s Clown right on his heels for third. He was trained by fellow Lexingtonian Kiaran McLaughlin.

Though we wish we’d had years with these two distinguised stallions, we were lucky to have them in our lives and will fondly remember them.

photos by Laura



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July 2, 2022

Victor Cooley
March 31, 1993-June 27, 2022

Today is the 26th anniversary of Victor Cooley’s win in the Marine Stakes at Woodbine. That day he set a speed record of 1 1/16 mile in 1:41.80 that stands to this day. We are saddened that we can’t go up to Victor’s paddock on the back 40 and celebrate with him. We miss him more than words can say.

Victor Cooley was the 1996 Three-year-old Male Champion in Canada. He won the prestigious Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, and at four the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont over such greats as Tale of the Cat and Northern Afleet. He also won that year’s Commonwealth Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. And those were only some of his triumphs.

He retired to where he was foaled, the Begg family’s Windways Farm in Ontario. For a farm of small acreage, Windways’ producing both Victor Cooley and multiple graded stakes winner El Brujo attests to consummate horsemanship. When the farm was sold in 2014 both Victor Cooley and El Brujo came to live at Old Friends.

“The Canadians,” Victor Cooley and El Brujo

Victor was a horse of unflappable common sense. He didn’t make fusses. He was almost always nice. But his willpower was hard as nails. He didn’t demand much, but when he decided, then you and whose army. You can see his self-confidence and strong will in these photos. Can you see his gracious side? It was big, too. If you were fortunate enough to visit with Victor, you experienced his quiet confidence, his friendliness, his gentleness with kids, and that special something in his eye that told you he was absolutely and always himself.

Victor Cooley, May 2022

El Brujo is Mr. Popular of the herd. Victor Cooley was respected and liked by them all, but “the Canadians” were also an exclusive club. As in, nobody else allowed. To say El Brujo misses his lifelong friend would be too much of an understatement. But the other side of that is, as Victor aged he was so very lucky to have a friend as loyal as El Brujo.

Victor liked to gallop with the herd. He was often the first to the fence to say hello when people appeared. In old age, when he needed an extra meal a day and got lunch, he wasn’t always hungry for it, but sometimes he’d let himself be wheedled into eating more, just out of kindness to us. Should I tell on him? That one time summer evening he stole a cup of white wine and loved it? As far as I know, he never got another, but he was mighty pleased with himself for that trick. Victor could also be quite crafty!

Though the herd is sad without him, they have each other. They’re a very bonded bunch. And though we miss Victor Cooley, lived well and long, earned accolades, mostly got his way, and he had one of the best friendships on the farm. Victor Cooley lived a life to celebrate.

photos by Laura

Remembering Victor Cooley


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