Home are there any grey horses in the 2018 kentucky derby Kentucky Derby 2018: A Visit With Former Champions At Old Friends Farm

Kentucky Derby 2018: A Visit With Former Champions At Old Friends Farm

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Kentucky Derby 2018 Horses
Kentucky Derby 2018 Horses

Kentucky Derby 2018: A Visit With Former Champions At Old Friends Farm

 

You never forget your first four-legged love.

For me, the year was 1997, and the horse was Silver Charm. As far as infatuation goes, this one was easy to explain: I loved his name. It sounded like the dainty jewelry that, at age eight, I already covered. superfecta box 

His thrilling, by-a-neck victory in the Kentucky Derby that year made me a winner in our family’s annual pool—where we gambled for pride, not money—and turned me, I would eventually realize, into a horse racing fan for life. superfecta box 

Silver Charm would go on to become one of 13 horses to win the Preakness Stakes and fight valiantly to win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park. superfecta box He was felled, ironically, by a horse called Touch Gold, but his place in horse racing history was already secure: his Derby win was the first for his trainer, a silver-haired charmer named Bob Baffert. (Baffert, of course, is the man who trained American Pharoah, the thoroughbred that broke the 37-year long Triple Crown drought in 2015.) are there any grey horses in the 2018 kentucky derby 

Then a few weeks ago, Silver Charm trotted back into my life and I got to meet him. Now 24, he lives at Old Friends, a retired thoroughbred farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. Old Friends is a non-profit dedicated to giving retired stallions—horses that are long past their racing and breeding prime—a place to grow old. And, importantly for us bipeds, a place where horse racing fans from around the world can come and visit their favorite former champions. are there any grey horses in the 2018 Kentucky Derby 

Old Friends was founded in 2003 by Michael Blowen, a retired Boston Globe film critic who still keeps a reporters’ notebook tucked in his back pocket. Over the past 15 years, the operation has grown from a leased paddock with one horse in Georgetown to a 236-acre farm with satellite operations in Saratoga, NY and Franklin, KY and a herd of more than 200 rescued and retired horses, including 21 pensioned stallions. Old Friends estimates that it hosts 20,000 visitors a year (it gives three tours a day, at $5 or $10 a person), and says its popularity has only grown in recent years—thanks largely to Silver Charm, who retired to the farm in 2014. are there any grey horses in the 2018 kentucky derby 

As we walked up to the fence where Silver Charm roams, Blowen called out loudly, “Who’s the greatest horse in the UNIVERSE?” That’s what it takes for Silver Charm to gallop over to us from the far side of his pasture. He won’t come if you only call his name, and he won’t come if you say “world” instead of “universe.” Even at his advanced age, he’s still spry and he has the calm temperament of a celebrity who knows that he’s the star of the show. off track betting near me 

 

“It’s just like human athletes, where the really good basketball players are three or four moves ahead of everyone else,” Blowen says. “He knows it’s more than just running around in a circle.” off track betting near me 

Whether he also knows that the horse that denied him the Belmont Stakes victory—the literal gold to his silver—is grazing in a paddock a few hundred yards away is impossible to say. But Blowen doesn’t take any chances: he flips his cap, which is black with the words “Touch Gold” emblazoned in teal on the front, backward so Silver Charm can’t see it. off track betting near me 

“This guy is like the class valedictorian, all As, quarterback of the football team, the prom king, the most likely to succeed,” Blowen says. Then he points to War Emblem, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby and the 2002 Preakness who is stationed in a field across from Silver Charm. Like Silver Charm, the Baffert-trained horse failed to win at Belmont Park, and the horse who stole his chance of Triple Crown immortality is also living at Old Friends: Sarava, a dark-coated beauty, is in a pasture a quick walk away. But unlike Silver Charm, War Emblem will not pander to a tour group or a curious reporter. printable list of kentucky derby horses

are there any grey horses in the 2018 kentucky derby
are there any grey horses in the 2018 kentucky derby

printable list of kentucky derby horses

“This one over here is also very intelligent, but he’s like the kid who sits in the back of the class and throws spitballs at the teacher,” Blowen says. He tries to entice War Emblem into a gallop by jogging alongside the fence with his bucket of carrots, but War Emblem already has his dinner in a bin in front of him. He doesn’t need to run for carrots. printable list of kentucky derby horses

“He cares for nothing except himself. He adores himself,” Blowen laughs.

Blowen talks this passionately (and anthropomorphically) about all the horses at Old Friends, not just the ones who’ve won famous races. In fact, it’s the no-names that inspired Blowen to start Old Friends in the first place. He had been apprenticing for a trainer at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts when he was still at the Globe and started asking what happened to the $3,500 claimers he was caring for. (The D-list celebrities, if you will.) He was told that they were being retired to riding academies in Maine, but after hearing that answer a few too many times, he realized that where they were really going was the slaughterhouse. eddie olczyk kentucky derby picks 

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People were skeptical of Blowen’s idea at first, he recalls; they didn’t believe that he didn’t want to re-train the horses and make money off of their second or third career. But he insisted that he just wanted to give old stallions—the 18- and 20-year-olds who don’t have a lot of career options —a place to enjoy retirement. what race number is the Kentucky derby As the years went by and Blowen stuck to his vision, he won the racing world over? Today, his horses receive free veterinary care from Park Equine and Hagyard’s Equine, and donations help cover the roughly $1 million budget. Baffert is among the farm’s high profile supporters: after he won the Belmont with American Pharoah in 2015, he gave Old Friends $50,000. eddie olczyk kentucky derby picks 

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“We’re providing a great service to racing,” Blowen says. “When people come here they see these horses, and that even once they stop making money for everybody, they’re treated really well.” Just the way old friends deserve. what race number is the kentucky derby 

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