June 6, 2018

20180529 Writing Memories 03

20180529 Writing Memories 01

Here are some of the remembrances shared on Memorial Day.


We will always remember and love our Buckeye Buddy, Catlaunch. Such a big beautiful, gentle, loveable horse. I believe he always remembered me our 2 visits a year.
– Barb & Ron Atherton

20180606 Catlaunch



Come on Flip
His face … I loved his face!
And so much more!
– Terry Stahler,
who with Paul Stahler formerly owned Come on Flip and Do One Dance

20180606 Come On Flip

Come On Flip


Tinners Way
I will miss coming to visit Tinners Way. It brought me great joy to meet one of Secretariat’s own. Tinners was always quiet, but enjoyed the carrots we brought. When I visited him last year in May, his eyes told me it wouldn’t be much longer. His time served was almost done. To Tinners … may you rest in peace!
– Cindy & Darrel Duke

20180606 Tinners Way

Tinners Way


Private Zone
You were such a thrill to watch on the track – a super star! I wanted so much to see you at Old Friends, but it was not to be. You are loved & always remembered.
– Mary Jo Hoffman

20180606 Private Zone breeze

Private Zone preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint

20180606 Private Zone

Private Zone at Old Friends


As a volunteer of the Kentucky Derby museum, I will never forget getting to see him every time I volunteered. Thanks so much for this service & taking care of him.
– Brenda Lea

20180504 Winston



Photos of Catlaunch, Tinners Way, Come On Flip, & Private Zone
by Laura Battles


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

May 30, 2018

Most of what goes on at Old Friends is about happiness. Keeping the horses healthy, secure and happy. Facilitating fun visits for the many guests who come to admire them. Witnessing joyful reunions between our residents and their former connections and longtime fans. We wish we could do all these things for each resident for the next 30 years. Sometimes the joy is so complete it feels like it’ll go on forever. But youngish horse or old, long retirement or all too brief, we provide for the final stage of horses’ lives, and now that we’re responsible for more than 200 horses, the number who pass each year has grown, too. Every Memorial Day we join our supporters and friends who can gather at the Georgetown farm. Together we remember the horses who have passed during the year. This year we shared fond memories of sixteen horses and a goat.

20180529 cemetery 1

Hard Luck Duck, Versailles Road, Our Revival, Tour of the Cat

20180529 cemetery 2

Early Pioneer, Ukiah, Private Zone, Come on Flip, Tinners Way

20180529 cemetery 3

Bonapaw, Burrwood, Diamond Stripes, Hidden Dark, Catlaunch

20180529 cemetery 4

Winston. Google the goat has a memorial plaque and Midnight Secret’s grave is at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, New York, where he lived.

20180529 eulogy

Michael delivered the eulogies. And yes, as always they brought tears at times and smiles at others. Such a wide range of characters leave behind tales and memories as varied, and as improbable and humorous at times as the individual horses themselves.

Steadfast friend of Come on Flip and others, Dr. Val Nicholson, concluded with her remeniscences and insights, and this year saw the beginning of what I hope will become a Memorial Day tradition. Those who wished to share their memories of those who had passed were invited to write them down.

20180529 Writing Memories 02

In former years, memories were shared aloud, which meant time constraints, hoping not to get up in front of people and cry, and that words spoken are words soon lost. Now these memories of the horses we all loved can be shared with a wider circle of people, many of whom couldn’t attend the gathering, and now we can keep them.

My own and other staff and volunteers’ remembrances can be found in blog posts of the past year, so rather than giving them short shrift here, I urge you to look back over those photos and words. But not all are represented there. Some, most of us at the main farm didn’t know, or didn’t know well. So this post remembers them all, not with words invented about them by humans, but in their own images.

20180529 Bonapaw

BONAPAW (1996-2017)
Sabona – Pawlova (Nijinsky II)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Burrwood

BURRWOOD (1994-2018)
Bayou Hebert – All Zip (Royal Trio)


20180529 Catlaunch

CATLAUNCH (2001-2018)
Noble Cat – Skilaunch (Relaunch)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Come On Flip

COME ON FLIP (1991-2017)
Commemorate – Phillippe Dancer (Sovereign Dancer)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Diamond Stripes

Notebook – Romantic Summer (On to Glory)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Early Pioneer
EARLY PIONEER (1995-2018)
Rahy – Golden Darling (Slew O Gold)
photo by Laura Battles


Hay Duck

HARD LUCK DUCK (1990-2018)
Duck Dance – Me Bright Two (Rebel Cause)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Hidden Dark

HIDDEN DARK (1990-2018)
Ferdinand – Hidden Light (Majestic Light)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Midnight Secret

Key Contender – Flannel Sheets (Triocala)
photo by Connie Bush


20180529 Our Revival

OUR REVIVAL (2000-2018)
Ide – Flashy Revival (Grand Revival)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Private Zone

PRIVATE ZONE (2009-2018)
Macho Uno – Auburn Beauty (Siphon)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Tinners Way

TINNERS WAY (1990-2018)
Secretariat – Devon Diva (The Minstrel)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Tour of the Cat - Rick C

TOUR OF THE CAT (1998-2018)
Tour d’Or – Tune into the Cat (Tunerup)
photo by Rick Capone


20180529 Ukiah

UKIAH (2002-2018)
Unbridled’s Song – Dixie Pearl (Dixieland Band)
photo by Laura Battles


20180529 Versailles Road - Cindy Grisolia

Street Cry – Not Offensive (Deputy Commander)
photo by Cindy Grisolia


20180504 Winston 2

WINSTON (1994-2018), who resided at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs and whose retirement with us was heartbreakingly brief


2017 08 21 - Google

GOOGLE, companion of Eldaafer on the track and in retirement




Filed under Uncategorized

May 15, 2018

20180515 Catlaunch LB3

Catlaunch 2001-2018


Everybody on the farm loved Catlaunch, and “the Cat” loved everybody. Here are some thoughts about him by three of his daily companions, some of his many friends, some of the people with whom he shared special bonds.


20180515 Catlaunch LB4

“Catlaunch was one of the most gentle horses I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Cat and I had a connection. Both being buckeyes how couldn’t we? As soon as he would hear my voice his ears would perk up and he would look for me. I’ll sure miss the big guy. He was one of my best friends.”  – Marisa Miller.


20180515 Catlaunch LB1


“Catlaunch was grace and kindness. He was quiet power and steady strength. Catlaunch was patient with us and loyal to those who loved him. He knew. Our gentle giant is gone but I honor the warmth and love he brought to my heart.” – Lisa Wood.


Another of the Cat’s close friends, Joey Steiner, didn’t put his words in writing. Even now, it’s not easy to say goodbye to him. But Joey told me of his admiration for Catlaunch’s courage as a racehorse and in retirement. He spoke lovingly of the tall, handsome bay’s spirit as he fought the neurological issues that eventually ended his life, and of his gentle, intelligent way of relating to people, and of his infinite kindness.


20180515 Catlaunch LB2

Catlaunch (L) with Game On Dude

20180515 Catlaunch w Michael Gonzalez

He loved visiting with his former exercise rider, Michael Gonzalez.

20180515 Catlaunch and Michael LB

Catlaunch taking a carrot from Michael’s mouth.

You made us more than we’d been before, Catlaunch. In losing you, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Photos by Laura

20180515 Catlaunch LB 5





Filed under Uncategorized

May 11, 2018

Living with horses means living with extreme highs and lows. Even as we celebrate the bright young stars in a remarkably strong group of three-year-olds now racing, we’re saddened by the loss of our retirees, Catlaunch at our Georgetown Farm, and Tour of the Cat at our Kentucky Downs location.

20180511 Tour of the Cat - BTS

Tour of the Cat (1998-2018), photo by Beth

Tour of the Cat, a son of Tour d’Or out of Tune in to the Cat (by Tunerup), was foaled May 3, 1998 in Florida and did much of his best racing there. Through his grandsire, Medaille d’Or, he was a great-grandson of Secretariat. He participated in the early stages of the 2001 Kentucky Derby trail with a second place finish in the Flamingo Stakes (G3) at Hialeah. His 10 stakes wins include the Miami Beach Handicap (G3) and Spend A Buck Handicap (G3) at Calder. When he needed to step down at age 11, Maggie Moss claimed him for retirement at Old Friends in 2009.

During his retirement, Tour of the Cat lived at our Georgetown farm, and most recently at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, where he was a favorite with farm manager Jennifer Jones and his many visitors.

I’ll always remember Tour of the Cat as a proud guy with a mind of his own. He could be a bit fiery. These qualities carried him through his hard-knocking athletic career, but as he settled into retirement and maturity, he showed us how much kindness he also had. At all stages of his life, Tour of the Cat had heart. Up here in Georgetown and down in Franklin he will be missed by many.


20180511 Catlaunch - LB

Catlaunch (2001-2018), photo by Laura

How to say goodbye to Catlaunch? Frankly, I think all of us at the main farm, as well as his connections and friends, haven’t quite managed that yet. Because he lived for so long in the front paddock with Game On Dude, then during his battle with his neurological condition spent so much time in the barn area, where he continued to meet and greet his visitors with unfailing loving gentleness, he was a constant in our lives, a mainstay, an especially close family member. I’ve asked a few staff and volunteers who were special to Catlaunch to contribute a few words about him, which I hope to post next week.

Both of these horses are very much in our hearts.



Filed under Uncategorized

May 7, 2018

Congratulations to
Justify (Ogygian’s great-great-grandson), Kentucky Derby winner,
Monomoy Girl (Williamstown’s great-granddaughter), Kentucky Oaks winner,

and all their connections, friends and fans!

Special thanks to all who partied with us yesterday at the 2018 Old Friends Homecoming, and grateful congratulations to all who won racing memorabilia and other cool stuff at the Homecoming auctions! In case you couldn’t be there, I caught a few snapshots of the fun.

20180507 partying

By Sunday all that Derby day rain had sailed far away. Race fans and other horse lovers reunited for good conversation in the spring sunshine, music by Shades of Grass, a Proud Mary BBQ dinner, and bar in the barn. Looks like this snapshot captured a moment of deep speculation…about the coming Preakness maybe?

20180507 Silver Charm gracious host

As always, Silver Charm played the gracious host. He listened as his fans recounted his 1997 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and other racing victories. He posed for photos. And yes, I saw him steal a kiss from an admirer or two.

20180507 bidding

The bidding at the silent and live auctions got hot and heavy. No kidding, with Danzig, Storm Cat, Curlin and Gun Runner halters up for grabs. Old Friends is grateful to all who donated this year’s especially wonderful items, and to all who contributed toward this highly successful fundraiser on behalf of our equine residents.

20180507 Viv photographs photographer of SC

An OF Blog photo of an OF Facebook photo in the making? Viv captures a photographer capturing a photograph of Silver Charm.

See those two bottles next to Viv? She put them there to protect a guest who turned up uninvited. Maybe he even gate-crashed. But he became one of the party’s guests of honor…

20180507 Norman

Norman the toad

And what party could be complete without…

20180507 Ring does his tat thing

…Special Ring doing his thing. “Show you my tat if you’ll show me one of those orange things.” Popcorn Deelites, as always, refuses to show his identifying tattoo. “I’m actually Seabiscuit! Really I am. It’s on film!”

If you couldn’t make it to Derby season Homecoming, the great news is that with this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs, this year Old Friends fun is a daily double. You heard it here first – your warm invitation to attend our fall 2018 Breeders’ Cup party the Sunday after Breeders’ Cup at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky.




Filed under Uncategorized

May 4, 2018

A heartbroken goodbye to little Winston who died at Park Equine Hospital due to a stomach infection. In his brief time with us, Winston was patient, kind, friendly and sweet natured. We wish so much we could have shared many years with him.

20180504 Winston

Long a star at the Kentucky Derby Museum, Winston provided companionship for two decades to a series of retired racehorses residing at the Museum’s stable, including Phantom on Tour who ran in Silver Charm’s 1997 Derby, Perfect Drift who finished third in War Emblem’s 2002 running, and during a visit a few years ago, 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

But Winston was no second fiddle. He had plenty of achievements in his own right, including throwing the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game, performing proposals in his “Will You Marry Me?” blanket, and handicapping Derby results for Churchill Downs. Time to retire coincided with an expansion of the Kentucky Derby Museum into the area formerly occupied by that organization’s stable, and Old Friends was honored to provide what we hoped would be a longtime home and new fun meeting and greeting his fans in retirement.

You could tell Winston enjoyed being led out by Michael or others of us to be admired, petted and loved on by visitors. He already knew all there was to know about being adored. He and Little Silver Charm enjoyed being grazed together, he was gentle with children and friendly to all.

Winston will be greatly missed by many, not just this Derby season but always.


20180504 Winston 2


Filed under Uncategorized

April 27, 2018

Only 8 days to Derby day! On Saturday, May 5, the best three year olds in the country—and one from Europe (sort of)—will compete in the run for the roses and in the Kentucky Oaks. Have you picked out your Derby colt and your Oaks filly? Better make your choices. Time’s getting short.

A tall order, you say? With so many promising contenders, how do you choose? Well, whether you’re a calculating handicapper or enjoy cheering on your own personal favorite, may I suggest the Old Friends Angle?

One way to play the Old Friends Angle is to back a horse with human connections—owner, breeder, trainer, jockey, exercise rider, groom, foaling staff—who supports Old Friends. That’s a great angle. In our earliest days it definitely swayed our feelings, but these days the wonderful thing is that so many racing participants support Old Friends and other Thoroughbred aftercare providers that I’m grateful to say this version of the angle would cover just about every runner in both races. From this perspective, back ’em all.

There’s another Old Friends Angle. One that in our earliest years didn’t often figure in the Derby and Oaks, but this angle has grown, and continues to become more exciting with each passing year. It’s the horse angle. If you walked around the farm and asked the horses who they’re rooting for, who would they pick? Some stranger, or their own grandkid or great-grandkid?

So, if you haven’t got your Derby colt or Oaks filly yet, consider these horses who have very special connections to Old Friends:

2018 Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 5, 6:50 pm Eastern Time

Audible is Gulch’s great-grandson. (Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel by Gilded Time). Blue Devil Bel’s dam Fahamore is by Gulch. Audible won the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G2), both important steps along the Kentucky Derby trail.

20180412 Gulch arrives at OF

Gulch looks over his new home on his arrival at Old Friends, December 22, 2009, photo by Beth

Gulch (1984-2016) was the 1988 Eclipse Sprint Champion, a champion sire, and a great gentleman. Intelligent, dignified, tough but kind, he will always be in a class by himself. Gulch sired 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, many Derby contenders, and is ancestor to more top athletes than any other Old Friends retiree. We were truly privileged to care for the great Gulch in retirement.

20180412 Gulch LB

Gulch, at home in his favorite paddock, age 30. Photo by Laura


Combatant is Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. (Scat Daddy – Border Dispute by Boundary). Ogygian’s daughter Myth was dam of international juvenile champion Johannesburg, who sired Scat Daddy. Combatant has yet to win a stakes race, but he finished second in the G3 Southwest Stakes and contended strongly in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.

Flameaway is also by Scat Daddy and so also Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. (Scat Daddy – Vulcan Rose by Fusaichi Pegasus). A graded stakes winner at 2 and 3, he finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes.

20180412 Ogygian LB

Ogygian, age 30, photo by Laura



Hofburg is Touch Gold’s grandson. (Tapit – Soothing Touch by Touch Gold). Hofburg finished second to Audible in this year’s Florida Derby (G1).

2016 06 03 Touch Gold

Touch Gold charges over when he hears the call. “Where’s the race?”

Touch Gold, foaled in 1994, lives at our Georgetown Farm. Winner of the 1997 Belmont Stakes and the horse who denied the Triple Crown to 1997 Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm, Touch Gold is fierce, smart, muscular and totally impressive. Come visit and admire him this summer!


Justify, the overwhelming favorite, is another son of Scat Daddy and so another great-great-grandson of Ogygian. (Scat Daddy – Stage Magic by Ghost Zapper). Trained by Bob Baffert, Justify won the Santa Anita Derby so impressively that he’s set heads spinning.

Mendelssohn, yet another Scat Daddy, is Ogygian’s great-great-grandson. Based in Ireland, Mendelssohn was foaled in Kentucky. (Scat Daddy – Leslie’s Lady by Tricky Creek). He won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and did you see his UAE Derby? Wow!

20180412 Ogygian 091004-05

Ogygian in 2009, photo by Beth

Ogygian (1983-2015) was a great athlete, important broodmare sire, and a patriarch of Old Friends. He retired to us in 2005 and his strong-willed, gracious presence remained a foundation of our survival and success for a decade. Through his grandson Street Boss he is the great-grandsire of 2016 Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia. His grandson Johannesburg’s son Scat Daddy, though prematurely deceased at 11, was one of the best sires of his generation. He did “O” proud.

20180412 Ogygian LB 2

Ogygian at age 30, photo by Laura


Promises Fulfilled is Marquetry’s grandson. (Shackleford – Marquee Delivery by Marquetry). He won this year’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1). A third place finish in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) after leading most of the way suggests he likes the Churchill Downs track.

20180412 marquetry-by-stacey-stoneman-2a_resized2013-2-1-20-37-467

Marquetry, photo by Stacey Stoneman

Marquetry (1987-2013), winner of the G1 1991 Hollywood Gold Cup and 1992 Eddie Read Handicap and other graded stakes, was one of the most distinctive retirees we ever had. A rich red horse with white markings decorating his legs, he was officially a Paint as well as a Thoroughbred, but it was his combination of spirited dignity and affectionate kindness that his friends will always remember. He’s emerged as an important broodmare sire as well. Marquetry was absolutely one of a kind.


20180412 Touch Gold 1 LB - Copy

Touch Gold, photo by Laura

Vino Rosso is Touch Gold’s great-grandson. (Curlin – Mythical Bride by Street Cry) Mythical Bride’s dam, Flaming Heart, is by Touch Gold. Vino Rosso made an exciting run to win the Wood Memorial last month. Class will tell, and Vino Rosso’s got class.


2018 Kentucky Oaks, Friday, May 4, 6:12 pm Eastern Time

After this impressive Derby procession of Old Friends descendants, it seems disappointing that only one descendant will be vying for this year’s Oaks—until you consider whose descendant she is.

20180412 Williamstown LB

Williamstown, photo by Laura

Monomoy Girl, a favorite after her win in the Ashland Stakes (G1), is a great-granddaughter of Williamstown. (Tapizar – Drumette by Henny Hughes). Williamstown sired her second dam (maternal grandmother), Endless Parade.

Williamstown (1990-2015), one of Seattle Slew’s best sons and one of Old Friends’ most beautiful and impressive retirees, shone on the racetrack but seemed fated never to be represented by any championship progeny—until now?

20180412 William eye

Williamstown’s eye, photo by Beth

Doesn’t this make your Oaks pick easy?



Filed under Uncategorized

April 5, 2018

20180405 new stalls

Monday was moving day for 14 of our residents who’d been living at our satellite farm down the road. Old Friends’ main farm is expanding due to the generosity of our supporters. To all our loyal friends who’ve made this possible, our warmest thanks! By bringing more of our horses to Dream Chase Farm we’re reducing our expenses, which in the longer run means we can give more horses a home while maintaining the high standard of care each and every one of them deserves. If you’ve visited, donated, or recommended Old Friends to others, the wonderful changes shown in this blog post are your doing.

20180405 new pastures

Look at all the new fencing! If you’ve visited lately you probably noticed it on the south side of the farm. Your tour guide may have mentioned that more land would be in use. When? When the run-in sheds could be built for the horses in each pasture. When the waterers could be installed and the water lines hooked up. When the ground could be cleared to ensure the safety of the horses.

At last, that “when” is now. Three of the new pastures now have horses living in them, and more will soon follow. Here are the snapshots I took of them this morning.

20180405 Stalls get built

Like the “back 40,” this part of the farm will have its own stalls for any horses receiving in-stall care when keeping a horse closer to his or her home pasture is safer and more convenient than traveling to and from the main barn.

20180405 horses w waterer

One of the three new pastures with a waterer in the foreground.

Here’s a newly installed waterer. We’ve used this kind in the newer paddocks for a few years and the horses really like them. The blue is a ball that floats on top of the water. To drink, a horse noses the ball aside. This motion keeps the water from forming thick ice during the winter and the ball also acts as a cover, keeping the water cooler and cleaner in the summer.

The above is also a bona fide photo of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Cajun Beat. One of these four horses is him.

So who-all moved in on Monday? The full list is:

Bent on Bourbon, Cajun Beat, Comma to the Top, Daytona, Fantastic Day, He Loves Me Not, Massone, Napoli Express, Old Mexico, Padua’s Pride, Porfido, Riversrunrylee, Secret Getaway, and Windy Land.

I alphabetized it so as not to favor anyone, but I hope some of these names stand out, either because of accomplishments on the track or because you’ve met and fallen in love with some of them at the main farm. For Daytona, Fantastic Day, He Loves Me Not, and Porfido, this is a welcome back home.  Riversrunrylee, Windy Land and Massone aren’t strangers at the main farm, either.

20180405 Windy Land

Windy Land, 19 year old gelding by Mixed Pleasure out of Our Distant Star by Distant Land

Well, Windy Land couldn’t possibly be a stranger. Doesn’t he look like his dad, Mixed Pleasure? Windy Land never raced, but he’s a great-great-great-grandson of Seabiscuit.

I know Porfido has made fans of some of our visitors, character that he is. For whatever reason, he wasn’t into coming over and having his picture taken this morning. This is the best I could do.

20180405 Porfido

Porfido, 16 year old bay gelding by Mash One out of Piazza Venezia by Roy

Porfido is on the left. He was a multiple graded stakes winner in his home country, Chile. Who’s the chestnut on the right? Hard to tell – maybe Massone?

But Porfido’s lack of photo cooperation was nothing to Cajun Beat’s. Just after I took the photo of the waterer above, everybody in Cajun Beat’s paddock decided it was time for a nap.

20180405 napping

A peaceful morning snooze in their new home. Padua’s Pride is on the left. Cajun Beat might be the one on the right. Maybe.

Will the real Cajun Beat stand up? . . . When it’s time for sweet dreams in the April grass? Not a chance. Cajun Beat, a dark brown/bay 18 year old gelding, is by Grand Slam out of the Cure the Blues mare Beckys Shirt.

20180405 Comma Mexico Windy

L to R, Comma to the Top, Old Mexico, Windy Land

These three don’t sleep when carrots are in the offing. Neither does this guy, who’s always been a great favorite at the farm.

20180405 Daytona

Daytona, winner of the Hollywood Derby and Shoemaker Mile.

Daytona, foaled in Ireland, is a 14 year old gelding by Indian Ridge out of Kyka by Blushing John. Welcome back, beautiful.

20180405 Comma to the Top

10 year old millionaire Comma to the Top is living on the main farm for the first time.

And welcome, Comma to the Top! Seems like just yesterday he was winning stakes race after stakes race. But that was then. Now, it’s about the carrots.

20180405 Massone

Massone, 12 year old gelding by Menifee out of Stoneleigh’s Hope by Damascus

Massone was no slouch on the track, either, and he’s having fun making friends with everyone. People, that is. When the horses moved, it was decided to keep them all in the same herds as before the move. This is to help them feel secure as they get used to their new surroundings. As time goes on and they get used to this farm, any changes in who does well with whom will be taken into account. Adjustments of this kind are always ongoing.

20180405 Old Mexico

Old Mexico, a 6 year old gelding by Kodiak Kowboy out of Leading Role by Demaloot Demashoot

Old Mexico, the youngster in the paddock, only raced 3 times, but he ranks fairly high in the pecking order. At first he didn’t know what to make of strangers with carrots, but it didn’t take him long to learn how fun that is.

20180405 He Loves Me Not

He Loves Me Not, 15 year old gelding by Not For Love out of Wewarrenju by Damascus

I think this horse, He Loves Me Not, had a lot to do with Old Mexico and Comma to the Top catching on so fast about coming up to the fence. “Love-Me,” as some of us call him, is an old hand at the main farm, and I admit he’s my favorite returning resident. So what if he was a claimer. This guy inherited a lot of his damsire Damascus’ steady good sense and kindness. He’s an absolute joy to be around. As are all of them.

As these 14 settle in, more paddocks are being readied, and soon more of our old and new friends will move into them. Thank you, all of you who have been loyal supporters and good friends to these Old Friends. It’s you who are making their happy times in these beautiful new homes possible.

20180405 Daytona Massone





Filed under Uncategorized

March 21, 2018

Today we have snow. Lots of snow. Way too much snow for the day after spring equinox. Tomorrow higher temperatures are forecasted, then we’ll have mud. Lots and lots of mud. Laura took these photos some weeks ago, but they’re . . . prophetic? Anticipatory? Pretty much inevitable.

20180321 Victor

Victor Cooley

Canadian star Victor Cooley doesn’t think it gets very cold in Kentucky, but this mud can sure make lunch service a little slower. A-hem, I said “lunch…” Mikethespike, who’s in the same paddock, thinks it’s all good.

20180321 Mikethespike

Mikethespike, a grandson of Black Tie Affair

Of course, if you’re not slipping and sliding in a Kubota delivering hay or slogging after horses who don’t particularly want to take their meds, that is, if you’re a horse yourself, mud can be…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem

20180321 Elusive Honey

Elusive Honey

20180321 Can you tell which side

Can you tell which side Bint Marscay’s been napping on?

20180321 Photon Jones 2

“Hey Jones, I’ve got an idea.” Photon (front) and W. C. Jones

20180321 Photon Jones 1

“Yesss!” Photon and W. C. Jones

Rolling is fun. It can give you just the right look.

20180321 Pops shakes off

Popcorn Deelites shakes off after his roll while Special Ring looks on.

20180321 Riva Fergus DTP

“Aren’t we handsome now?” Riva Way, Fergus Mac Roich and Disturbingthepeace

20180321 You and I

27 year old, usually dignified You and I takes a playful turn around his paddock.

20180321 Rosebud

“Victor had the right idea. When’s dinnertime?” Rosebud (who doesn’t roll in the mud)

So, once the snow’s melted you, too, can come out and play in the mud at Old Friends. Consider it. Seriously. All weathers are fun at this farm and we’d love to take you out to see the horses, rain or shine. Give us a call. We’re back to our 3-tour-a-day spring-summer-and-fall schedule, 10:00, 1:00 and 3:00.

photos by the intrepid Laura



1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

March 9, 2018

On February 14, 1998, Alydar’s daughter Twenty Eight Carat delivered a special valentine, a handsome bay son by A. P. Indy. He was raced by former University of Kentucky Wildcats coach Rick Pitino’s Ol’ Memorial Stable (then called Celtic Pride Stable), and it’s not hard to guess why they named him A P Valentine. A grandson of Seattle Slew and great-grandson of Secretariat, he was remarkably muscular, athletic, and talented. Hall of Famer Nick Zito trained him to a juvenile win in the 2000 Champagne Stakes. He was a favorite for the Derby and finished second to Point Given in both the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Eventually retired with $864,170 earnings, he began an enthusiastically heralded breeding career at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

Then, oops. How could a stallion named Valentine fail to get a single mare in foal? Coolmore, which owns Ashford Stud, had no choice but to retire him from stallion duty. Some of you avid race fans will remember this story. But did you know that A P Valentine did go on to be a dad? For Texas veterinarian Dr. William Day, he sired 28 registered foals, not enough for a career at a major stud farm, but 21 of them became racehorses, and two, A P Valor and Ifonlyjohnny, earned more than $100,000 apiece.

20180308 A P Valentine

A P Valentine in a sleepy moment. Photo by Laura.

Now permanently retired to Old Friends by Dr. Day, A P Valentine arrived just in time for—you guessed it—Valentine’s Day. So I guess for his 20th birthday, he got Old Friends. He’s a handsome, confident guy with more than a passing resemblance to his great sire.

20180308 River Squall 01

River Squall. Photo by Laura.

Old Friends also thanks Dr. Day for donating Hawthorne Derby and Saranac Stakes winner River Squall. We miss our two sons of Summer Squall, Charismatic and the less famous but no less loved Delay of Game, and we welcome this son of Summer Squall, who on his dam’s side also happens to be pretty closely related to Creator. So River Squall is already family and we hope he’ll feel happily at home with us. He’s 24.

20180308 Prized PoachPrized Poach

Speaking of family, here’s newcomer Prized Poach, an unraced 8 year old son of Prized. He’s not on the main tour route—the farm is too large for all paddocks to be visited in a 90 minute tour—but he’s settled in and is currently with Tuneintobow.

20180308 minis MB and JS

Michael and Joe Steiner graze…our two minis??

But what is this?

Are we seeing double?

Or are tours about to get twice as fun?

20180308 Winston and LSC

If you’re local you probably saw the coverage of Winston’s retirement from the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on Louisville’s WHAS and Lexington’s WTVQ’s coverage of his arrival at Old Friends. If not, I hope you’ve followed the news on our social media and Little Silver Charm’s Facebook page. Little Silver Charm’s wisecracks notwithstanding, here’s the two enjoying grazing together this afternoon.

20180308 Winston and LSC 2

Can you tell which is which? (Hint: Winston’s got the long legs, Little Silver Charm’s got the big hair.)


Amid the celebration of our new arrivals, we are saddened by the loss of one of our long-time residents. Gritty, tough-knocking Hidden Dark was one of our oldest mares, and has battled a combination of issues during the last few years. “Dee Dee,” as some of us called her, never won a race, but in her time with us she showed the steady fire of an enduring spirit, no doubt an inheritance from her great sire, Ferdinand. We miss her.

20180308 Hidden Dark

Hidden Dark (1990-2018) toward the end of her life. Photo by Laura.

Magic Dot, Ava Lotta Hope, Hidden Dark

Hidden Dark in her younger days (R) moving her herd, Magic Dot and Ava Lotta Hope.

Our summer tour schedule resumes on March 15, with 3 tours a day at 10:00, 1:00, and 3:00 seven days a week by reservation, or phone us to ask about our special private tours by appointment only. We hope to see you this summer when you come to meet A P Valentine, River Squall and Winston (Gorgeous George says “me, too!”). If you visited us last summer you’ll be pleased to know you can see Z Dager again in the barn area. He may be the absolutely sweetest horse we’ve ever had.

20180308 Z Dager and Dagmar

Z Dager gets a kiss from Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner, Old Friends’ artist.

Did you know that you can now pre-order Dagmar’s forthcoming book of gorgeous paintings of our horses, The Art of Old Friends? Find more information here.

We hope to see you soon.

The Real Photos are by Laura
Snapshots of Minis, Z Dager & Dagmar by Beth


Filed under Uncategorized