Horse Racing’s Living History Museum
Since 2003, Old Friends has put a new face on the concept of equine aftercare. Founded by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown from one horse to a 136-acre farm and two satellite facilities and over 165 rescued and retired horses. The farm attracts over 20,000 visitors annually, who come to see such stars as 3-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, and Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners Silver Charm and War Emblem (both repatriated from overseas stallion duties), as well as Breeders’ Cup Champions like Alphabet Soup, Little Mike, Amazombie, and Eldaafer.
While it’s the stars that draw the crowds, the farm is home to less-successful hard-knockers, many of whom never won a race.
Beth and I visited Old Friends in August 2018. Ironically, we met an old friend of Beth there who lives nearby. Beth and Martha have not seen each other for nearly 10 years, but have kept in close touch via email, phone, and Facebook. Very appropriate place to meet!
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
With each horse, I have included a link to his bio on the Old Friends website.
Be sure to view all of the photos on each bio – several have old race photos!
At the beginning of this page, there was a photo of a horse grazing out past a cemetery.
That cemetery (shown below) is one of two on the farm. Since this is a “retirement home” for horses to spend their senior days,
it is to be expected that there will be horses passing on. The farm deals with this matter with much respect.
A few early horses were buried, but it soon became evident that there would not be enough space.
Now, most horses are cremated.
We would highly recommend stopping by the Old Friends farm and taking a tour when you are near
Georgetown, Kentucky (just north of Lexington). We learned a lot about horses and enjoyed our time there.
The staff at the farm are very patient about answering questions, and seem to really respect the horses.
If I was a horse, this is where I would want to “retire”.
After the tour, Kevin and Martha took us down to the town of Midway for lunch at Darlin’ Jeans.
Midway looks like a very interesting town with lots of shops. We will have to go back another time!