How you can help
Our mission at Old Friends is to provide a dignified retirement for our Thoroughbreds, champions and “unknowns”alike. Your tax deductible gift will help ensure that we not only continue to provide for the care of these marvelous athletes, but also will help us to continue to expand our facility for more horses. Below is a listing of the various ways to support Old Friends. Of course if you would like to make any donation, you may donate here online with Network For Good, or with PayPal or send a check to: Old Friends, 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, KY 40324
Horse Racing’s Living History Museum
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 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 (Click here to learn more about Cabin Creek).
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.
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.
Our guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, but they often leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.
Watch CBS Feature
Our Board of Directors
Michael Blowen – President
William Van Den Dool – Vice President
Cynthia Grisolia, Chairman
Mark Otto, Treasurer
Barbara Fossum, Secretary
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
-The 501 (c) 3 was formed in 2003, propelled by news that Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had died in a slaughterhouse.
-Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, our first satellite facility, opened in Greenfield Center, NY in 2009. In 2015 we opened a second satellite: Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, perhaps the only Thoroughbred retirement farm to be found on a racetrack.
-We receive no government funding. We subsist on donations, grants, revenue from our tours, gift shop, and annual fundraisers.
-We have retired 11 Eclipse-Award champions, 10 Breeders’ Cup winners, two Hall of Fame inductees, one Dubai World Cup winner, and two Horses of the Year. We have more stakes winners than any farm in the Bluegrass.
-Old Friends has repatriated eight horses from Japan: Sunshine Forever, Creator, Fraise, Ogygian, Wallenda, Silver Charm, Charismatic, and War Emblem.
-Old Friends has repatriated one horse from Italy: Geri.
-All of our athletes combined, have earned more than $163 million on the track.
-In high season (April-October) up to 1000 fans and tourists take tours weekly.
-Our mascot, Little Silver Charm, has his own Facebook page with over 6300 fans. (click here to Like Little Silver Charm).