Old Friends at Kentucky Downs has two new Thoroughbred residents who promise to be fan favorites: multiple stakes-winner Good Lord, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, and Monmouth Park's 2014 grade III Iselin winner Balance of Power.
Good Lord and Balance of Power recently completed their two-week quarantine upon arrival and now are on display at the Kentucky Downs satellite facility of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms, joining six other retired racehorses, along with mascot Fonzie the Mini.
Good Lord, a $20,000 purchase trained throughout his career by Forrest Kaelin for Stan Young of nearby Bowling Green and the late Thomas Shank, is the second horse at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs to have won at the unique all-grass course. His Old Friends teammate Rumor Has It won the 2008 Kentucky Turf Cup.
"It's the perfect spot," Kaelin said.
The 9-year-old Good Lord won nine stakes among his 15 victories in a career spanning eight seasons, 84 races and $803,305 in earnings while racing on dirt, grass and synthetic surfaces. He twice won Ellis Park's Don Bernhardt and Mountaineer Park's Mountaineer Mile, also capturing Churchill Downs' Grade III Aristides and Kelly's Landing, Charles Town's Wild and Wonderful and Tampa Bay Downs' Super Bowl Stakes. The Kentucky Downs Turf Dash (now the Grade III Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint) came during the best streak of the gelding's career, when he won five stakes in seven starts, including track records at Charles Town (1:22.76 on the seven-furlong "bull ring"), Ellis (1:14.46 for 6 1/2 furlongs) and Tampa (1:22.03 for seven-eighths).
Good Lord was ninth in his last start in a $40,000 claiming race Sept. 8 at Kentucky Downs. He was dropped off at Old Friends as the Churchill Downs-based Kaelin's stable shipped to Tampa Bay Downs for the winter.
"Stan thought it was time for him to just fold it up," Kaelin said. "He didn't want him to have to drop down too far the claiming ranks. But he was still 100-percent sound, a good sound horse his entire life. He was a nice little horse, a tough bird, I'll tell you. They're hard to find like that for $20,000. He had three track records. He'll have that one at Charles Town for a long time."
Balance of Power is an Old Friends veteran, arriving in March, 2015, at the main campus in Georgetown, Ky. Claimed for $25,000 by Drawing Away Stable in late 2013, the son of Silver Train saved his best for last, taking Monmouth Park's Iselin for his first stakes triumph in what proved his career finale in 2014. Balance of Power retired with six wins out of 16 starts, earning $233,128.
"He's so great with people it's unbelievable," said Rick Albright, Kentucky Downs' racing development manager who oversees the Old Friends venue. "He is spectacular. You could send five toddlers in with him and they'd be fine. He just greets every car that pulls up there right at the front paddock."
Albright said Old Friends' new additions provide a great opportunity for fans and horse enthusiasts to see up close the difference between a horse coming in from the track and one who has been retired for awhile.
"We're coming off our best month ever, with routinely four and five tours a day over the fall holidays," he said. "We're excited about it growing over the next season. Although the weather might be changing, tours are available every day but Monday."
Tours are available year-round after 11 a.m. CT except during late August through mid-September, when Kentucky Downs is preparing for and conducting its live race meet. If a guide is not on hand, patrons can call 270-586-3040 and one will come over from the Franklin/Simpson County Tourism Commission, which is five minutes away and staffs the Old Friends facility. Tours are $5.00 per person, with children 12 and under free. Proceeds from tours and gift shop items go directly to the horses' care. The area is available for school tours and parties, with tour participants able to feed horses carrots and take photos.