We’ll be joining an “Old Friend” of winningponies this week with Michael Blowen, the founder of Old Friends Retirement Farms, where he resides in Georgetown, Kentucky. The pandemic caused by Covid had a negative effect on so many businesses and Old Friends was one of them. Michael, fresh off of his national appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, will tell us about the quarantine’s impact on the farm and how he is revitalizing it in 2021. In a little more than a decade Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has put a new face on the concept of equine aftercare. Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown from a leased paddock and one horse to a 236-acre farm, a herd of over 200 rescued and retired horses, and a satellite facility; Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, NY. Blowen had long believed that horses past their prime could still be valuable – money-earning, even—if the venue was right. And so Old Friends tested the concept by opening its doors to the public, inviting fans to revisit their turf heroes. Now a “living-history museum of horse racing”, the farm attracts nearly 20,000 visitors annually who come to swoon over such American Grade 1 winners as Breeders’ Cup Champions Amazombie, Little Mike and Alphabet Soup, Belmont Stakes winners Sarava and Touch Gold, and three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude. The farm is also home to Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion Silver Charm repatriated from stud duties overseas. Eric Wing, who pilots the plane at Horse Tourneys will update us on the Tournament scene and the action they will be offering in the days ahead (time to cash in those to cash in those E-Z Win Credits you may have won in our Belmont Contest). An astute fan of the sport, Eric will join John to review the “take-aways” from the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown series. Did Essential Quality stamp himself as the best 3-year-old of this crop – or did Hot Rod Charlie’s sensational second-place effort and speedy time serve as his coming out party for the months ahead? They will discuss this and other areas of racing grabbing headlines of late.
The racing weekend is spread all over the country and we will feature an analysis of the Grade 3 $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep at Churchill Downs where all eyes will be on Brad Cox trained Juliet Foxtrot where she will face ten rivals. The Grade 3 $150,000 Salvatore Mile will take place at Monmouth Park where a well-matched field of ten will match strides and at Santa Anita the featured $100,000 Thor’s Echo will feature some of the fastest horses in California going six furlongs.