Our inaugural race will benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms. A portion of your race registration and 100% of additional donations made by participants will go to Old Friends to help them achieve their mission.
Old Friends provides a dignified retirement to Thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end. By promoting these one-time celebrated horses through a campaign of education and tourism, we hope to raise awareness of all equines in need.
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 Globefilm critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown from a leased paddock and one horse to a 136-acre farm, a herd of over 175 rescued and retired horses, and two satellite facilities: Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, NY and Old Friends at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, KY.
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 champions Silver Charm and War Emblem, each repatriated from stud duties overseas.
And while such rock stars draw crowds, the revenue they raise supports hard-knockers like Swan’s Way, whose resume boast 81 starts and only eight wins, Easy Grades, a one-time Kentucky Derby contender who ended up struggling in 5K claimers at the age of nine and Mikethespike who toiled for 10 years and made 125 starts before injuries ended his career. But every horse at Old Friends has a story to tell, and visitors to the farms can hear them all. The farm is open to the public daily for guided walking tours (sorry, we do not permit unaccompanied touring, but click here for tour information).
In 2014 Old Friends was rewarded with a Special Eclipse Award honoring extraordinary service in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. But perhaps the greatest reward of all has been respect and support of the owners, trainers, and fans who not only donate to the cause of protecting these amazing athletes but come out to the farm often and visit with all of their old friends.
Guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, but they often leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.