Edited from a release
Old Friends will be hosting its first open house on the grounds of Afton Farm on Saturday, April 17, from 4-9 p.m. to showcase their two horses, Narrow Escape and Rich in Dallas, and to educate the public on horse retirement. Admission is free and open to all. Reservations are not required. Valet parking will be available, and dress is casual/"come as you are."
Representatives from other horse retirement groups will be in attendance, including The Exceller Fund, ReRun, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, C.A.N.T.E.R, and Bethlehem Farm.
"Bringing all these horse retirement groups together for one big event is a first, and we hope to make this an annual tradition. The solidarity of these groups working together is a spectacular achievement and benefits everyone involved--most importantly, the horses we're helping," said Melissa Miller, vice president and director of public relations for The Exceller Fund.
"The two most neglected groups in racing are the fans and the athletes," said Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends. "We have an obligation to care for these great athletes...to give them a dignified retirement and to have a place where their fans can visit them. We can't idolize them when they're running and slaughter them when they're done. It's not only ignorant and immoral, it's a waste of a valuable resource. Ferdinand can not have died in vain."
The Old Friends open house events will include silent and live auctions, live music, catered food and beverages, sales of horse-related gifts and crafts, and photo opportunities with such notable people as Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery, and trainer Charles Whittingham's widow, Peggy Whittingham, as well as Narrow Escape and Rich in Dallas.
Narrow Escape, Old Friends' first horse, is a 21 year-old daughter of Exceller, who was graciously donated by Franks Farms. Rich in Dallas, a 9 year-old gelding, was one of the seven horses that played Seabiscuit in the movie of the same name. Old Friends, The Exceller Fund and ReRun teamed up to retire Rich in Dallas after he ran a $2,500 claiming race at Los Alamitos in late March, with the generous help of an anonymous donor from California.
Directions to Afton Farm which is at 7576 Georgetown Road in Franklin County, Ky. From the intersection of Midway Road and Leestown Road, continue west on Leestown for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Fishers Mill Road and go 3.5 miles to stop sign. Turn left at stop sign. It's less than one mile to Afton Farm on your right.
The major goal of Old Friends is to draw attention to retired Thoroughbred athletes by promoting famous racehorses that are no longer in service. By giving these horses a fine facility we can illustrate how a quality lifestyle is due every racehorse. Through a campaign of education and tourism, racing owners, breeders, fans, jockeys and racetracks can see how a post-racing career can be built on the love and understanding of the animal.
For more information on Old Friends and the open house, please visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.