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.

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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.


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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.




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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Norman the toad

And what party could be complete without…

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…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.




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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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?

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Williamstown’s eye, photo by Beth

Doesn’t this make your Oaks pick easy?



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April 5, 2018

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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





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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.

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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.

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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…

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1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold


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2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem

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Elusive Honey

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

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

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“Yesss!” Photon and W. C. Jones

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

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

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

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

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“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



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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February 25, 2018

A lot has been going on at the farm. A few weeks ago we were saddened to lose Ukiah. To racegoers, he was just a horse. Bred and raced in his early career by Jerry and Ann Moss, he was by the superlative sire Unbridled’s Song, but of his 20 races, he won only 2. When he’d been racing for two years with only one win, he went into the claiming ranks and was acquired by trainer Doug O’Neil for partners Dennis O’Neil, Paul Reddam, and, for whom he got his second win. He was tried in a stakes race, the Californian (G2), but couldn’t beat those. Before long he was back in the claiming ranks, where he stayed and was claimed another time or two. By 2010 and the age of eight he’d done about all he could and was by then racing for the low tag of $7,500. Ukiah retired to Old Friends in 2010 thanks to the Mosses’ support for their former homebred.

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Ukiah 2002-2018

At Old Friends, Ukiah was never on the main tour route. Chances are you didn’t meet him. We knew him as a small but gutsy little grey guy who got along well with his paddock mates, but 2002 Kentucky Derby contender Easy Grades knew Ukiah as his best friend in the whole world. Those two were close to inseparable during Ukiah’s entire eight years with us.

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Ukiah and Easy Grades

Ukiah was never a squeaky wheel. He had a happy 8 years with us until the day he had a severe colic attack. Brought to the barn and treated by Dr. Waldridge, he seemed at first to be better, but soon it was clear he needed hospital care. As we watched Ukiah load onto the trailer, his small, grey form seeming so vulnerable in the big open doorway, all of us at the barn thought he’d be coming back home to us. But colic can surprise in harsh ways. Despite the best attempts to save Ukiah’s life, it was not to be. We miss him. So do his paddock buddies, especially Easy Grades. But Easy is doing well.

Instead of thinking about his last illness, the link below is how I like to remember Ukiah. This is the time he tried top company in the Californian Stakes. When I found this race online, what do you know. Look who all is in this race. Ukiah’s the only grey, easy to spot. That pretty red horse is future OF resident Awesome Gem. And look who’s up front battling for the lead during most of the race. None other than our own sassy guys, Rail Trip and Ball Four. This race may be the record for most OF horses in a single race, ever. Ukiah liked herd life, so even though he didn’t win this race, I love this goodbye image of him running with so many horses we’ve come to know and love.

Ukiah, Rail Trip, Ball Four and Awesome Gem in the 2009 Californian Stakes

Though no horse can take another’s place, we have had some arrivals I look forward to posting about and are expecting another soon. Stay tuned for more about that.

As we approach spring we’re still providing hay and other winter care, now working in the mud instead of the ice or snow, but the horses all seem to have spring fever. Everybody’s mellow. Everybody wants to nap half the day away, recharging their batteries, so to speak, whenever the rain stops and when – like today – the sun comes out. Tours have picked back up again, too. Can it really be spring this early? Time will tell, but for now, there’s definitely a spring feeling among the horses.

And guess what. We can share that feeling with you, thanks to staff members Tammy Crump who took this little video and James Crump who posted it on Youtube. Enjoy!

1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup plays with his best buddy, Gorgeous George!

photos by Laura
video by Tammy







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February 3, 2018

It’s with wistful sadness that we say goodbye to Private Zone, an outstanding race horse who showed courage and patience as he quietly struggled against illness. Private Zone was bred in Canada by Adena Springs and was a son of Macho Uno and Auburn Beauty, a daughter of Siphon. He won the 2014 Vosburgh Stakes (G1) and Cigar Mile (G1), and he finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. In 2015 he won the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), Belmont Sprint Championship (G3), and Forego Stakes (G1), and was third in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His career earnings were close to $3 million.

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But it’s as a member of the Old Friends family that we’ll remember Private Zone. Unlike some, he made no fuss about settling in at the farm. During the quarantine all new arrivals go through, he watched the tours, gathered what was going on, and when he graduated to participation in the tours he always behaved kindly to his admirers, accepting carrots with graciousness.

Then it was time to join a herd. Private Zone, who was 8 years old, joined the other youngish geldings in “Maybesomaybenot’s herd.” They have an especially pleasant paddock where a line of trees casts a sheltering shade through hot summer mornings and makes a windbreak in cold weather.

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Private Zone last summer living the herd life.

The herd accepted him, but his time with his new companions was all too short. Concerns about his health led to his being brought back to the barn where he could receive Dr. Waldridge’s visits and close observation by the barn crew. He had turn-out time in the small paddock accessible from his back stall door. Though he, and we, tried our hardest to fight his digestive tract disorder, we lost the battle. The afternoon Private Zone went back to Park Equine Hospital for the second time in two weeks, we bid him goodbye with heavy hearts. He received the best care humanly possible there, but I think we knew this was one race Private Zone would not win.

Private Zone 02

In his stall, where you may have met him on a tour in spring 2017 or this winter.

He’d only turned nine years old. It’s terribly sad when a horse dies that young, all the more because he had so little time to enjoy the retirement his valor and hard work had so richly earned. He fought the good fight, first on the track, then against a difficult illness, but finally it was time to let him go in peace.

Photos by Laura

Old Friends’ press release about Private Zone’s passing.


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February 1, 2018

They say blogs are for contemplation, not news. Whoever “they” are, they’re probably right about that. All the same, I can’t help mentioning two news items. First, tickets for Old Friends’ Annual Homecoming are now available! Our 2018 Annual Homecoming is Sunday, May 6 – the day after the Derby – at the main farm. It’s always a fun party and a great way to meet other Old Friends supporters, so I hope very much to see you there! To find out more, call us at 502-863-1775.

Second, you probably already know that Green Mask has arrived. But did you know he’s a really sweet guy?

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Green Mask

Green Mask is by Mizzen Mast out of the Forestry mare Bonzai Beauty. He specialized in sprints on the turf. He won the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) at Churchill Downs and Highlander Stakes (G2) at Woodbine, and a race close to our hearts, the Bonapaw Stakes at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana. He also got third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

He’s currently doing the routine quarantine for all new arrivals, and is also recuperating from the fractured sesamoid that ended a beautiful race career, so he’s receiving special care in the barn with restricted, supervised turn-out, as Arson Squad and Jimbo Fallon did on their arrivals. When Green Mask is ready for tours I think he’ll love them. He already knows that people and treats are some of his favorite things. And if he’s one of your favorite horses, you don’t have to wait to get a share in him. You can phone us for one now.

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Green Mask – don’t you love his blaze? Question mark in a mirror.

Old Friends thanks Green Mask’s racing owner, Sheikh Abdullah Saeed Almaddah, his trainer, Brad Cox, everyone at the New Bolton Center and Dell Ridge Farm who took care of Green Mask and enabled his retirement with us.

If you asked the horses, they’d probably tell you there’s another news item. Mud! Oodles and oodles of it. Carole says she’d rather deal with snow than slurp through the mud catching horses who’d rather not take medicine.


The farm’s humans just don’t know how to get into the spirit of a good roll in the mud, that’s all.

But the milder weather seems to have a relaxing effect on the horses. Everybody’s laid back, just being nice and lazy.

whens dinner

Hanging out waiting for dinner.

When’s dinner gonna come, when’s dinner gonna come? Clockwise, from left top: I’m Charismatic & Arson Squad. Right top: Ready’s Rocket, Geronimo & Cost Affective (Rathor seems to be outside the frame). Right foreground: Sokitumi Samurai (out of frame are his friends Fabulous Strike, Awesome Gem & Marshall Rooster). Left foreground: Got to be either Tuneintobow or Prized Poach. Whoever he is, he actually does have a head, I promise.

Milder weather is for hanging out with their favorite paddock buddies.

Dan and FCH

Danthebluegrassman (L) & Fighting City Hall

Affirmed Success Kudos

Affirmed Success & Kudos


From L: Dinard, Archie’s Echo & Beau Cashin’ In

Dinard and Archie’s Echo have a new paddock mate, Beau Cashin’ In, who was formerly with Tuneintobow. Making friends with an already-established herd or twosome is usually a gradual process for horses. Sometimes it only takes hours, but more often, weeks until the new guy or girl is fully accepted, as Archie and Dinard are signalling here. Beau’s being wisely patient about it. That’s just how it is when you’re a horse.

Santona Lady Grizzley

Santona (L) & Lady Grizzley

Lady Grizzley can tell you all about that. Last summer she was the new girl on the block. Now she’s tight with boss-mare Santona.

Princess and Bella

Princess (L) & Bella

Hey, these aren’t horses…

Dude and Soup

Alphabet Soup is curious about Game On Dude

In the barn the socializing happens from a safe distance. Safe, because Alphabet Soup is a stallion and stallions won’t share space with another male horse, even a gelding like Game On Dude. Looks to me like Alphabet Soup may be sizing up the Dude, thinking he looks like a formidable champion (he’s right about that), and wondering if he could beat him on the track. We’ll never know, which is probably just as well for 27 year old Alphabet Soup since Game On Dude is a mere 11 and still very speedy. If they were both 5? Who knows. I think I’ll put equal money on both of them.


Photos by Laura


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