Precisionist, a Hall of Famer bred and raced by the late Fred Hooper, arrived just in time to christen the new acreage that is home for Old Friends.
The 25-year-old son of Crozier arrived June 7 by way of a Sallee van at the equine retirement home in Scott County, Ky., a day after Old Friends completed the deal to purchase 52 acres of Clay Neel's Dream Chase Farm. Old Friends, formerly located on part of Alfred Nuckols Jr.'s Hurstland Farm near Midway, Ky., now operates as Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm.
Precisionist arrived in excellent health from Dr. Siobhan Ellison's farm near Ocala, Fla. Ellison, who began caring for the 1985 sprint champion in 1996, donated him to Old Friends.
"Dr. Ellison did a remarkable job caring for him," said Old Friends president Michael Blowen. "She took such good care of him that it looks as if he could still be ridden. She said the summers were too hot for him down there. His relocation now means another legion of his fans has a chance to see him."
Precisionist didn't have to wait long to see one of his biggest fans. Chris McCarron, who rode Precisionist in all but a handful of the horse's 46 races, came out to see him the first day. "We're going to see if we can get Mr. Hooper's silks, put them on Chris, and have a picture of him on Precisionist," Blowen said.
Precisionist, who experienced fertility problems and sired only a handful of offspring, won 17 stakes, six of which were grade I, including the 1985 Breeders' Cup Sprint. He earned $3.4 million.
Old Friends currently cares for 16 horses, but now can accommodate up to 25 because of extra space. The relocation of the retirees will be ongoing through the end of the month. Old Friends also plans to run a bed and breakfast in one of the existing structures on the farm.
"We don't have to do much; just open the doors," Blowen said. "This way, the fans will be that much closer to the horses."