(The following information courtesy of Old Friends)
“At Old Friends, the non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, the horses may not be racing anymore, but they are winners every day.
Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, Old Friends now cares for more than 200 horses across three states, most of them stallions whose racing and breeding careers came to an end. A ‘living history museum of horse racing’, the farm attracts nearly 20,000 tourists annually that get up close and personal with such stars of the turf as Breeders’ Cup Champion Gulch, Eclipse-Award winner Sunshine Forever, Whitney Handicap Winner Commentator, millionaire gelding Arson Squad, and…the losingest horse in the history of racing, Zippy Chippy.
The formation of Old Friends kicked into high gear when the news broke that Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had perished in a slaughterhouse in 2002 (learn more about Ferdinand here). That discovery gave the organization even more impetus. ‘We went from getting five emails a day to hundreds,’ notes Blowen. We knew such a death should never happen again, and so the plan became to bring at-risk racehorses–those whose racing and breeding careers had come to an end–to Old Friends, provide them with the dignified retirement they deserve, and invite the public to visit. By promoting these one-time celebrated horses through a campaign of education and tourism, we draw attention to all retired Thoroughbreds and all equines in need.
We are the only thoroughbred rescue / retirement facility that specializes in accepting stallions and so we take exceptional pride in our pensioned champions, among them one of the last great son of Damascus, Ogygian, Kiri’s Clown, and stakes winner You and I. These champions live alongside retirees like Swan’s Way and Escapedfromnewyork, horses who never earned much more than our love and respect. Old Friends is also home to many deserving mares and geldings.
But every horse at Old Friends has a story to tell, and visitors to the farms can hear them all while learning about racing and ways to help with Thoroughbred aftercare (click here for tour information). Racing fans in New York can also visit some Old Friends champs. Our first satellite division, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, is just a short drive from the Saratoga racecourse and is home to biggest loser Zippy, Travers Stakes winners Thunder Rumble and Will’s Way, GR1 winner Crusader Sword, and many others. (Click here to learn more about Cabin Creek).
Our guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, but they often leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.”
To learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm, please visit the Old Friends website or call them at 502-863-1775.
Selected press on Old Friends:
August 2009 NYT article and video —
The CBS interview in 2007
To view the couture Derby hats that we have had up for bid in former rounds of this exclusive Derby hat auction, please click on the following – Portfolio