The Kentucky-based Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement facility and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., are joining to present "Old Friends Day" Jan. 20 at the West Coast racetrack. The event, which begins at 11:00 a.m. (PST), is a special recognition of the many Old Friends patrons and supporters based on the West Coast.
The event was organized with the support of Amy Zimmerman, executive producer for HRTV and director of broadcasting at Santa Anita.
Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, noted that a number of the former racehorses now retired at Old Friends once captured big wins in California. “It’s an impressive list, “ he said. “Futural won there, Precisionist was the winner of the Strub series, and Ruhlmann won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I)."
Ruhlmann, in fact, still holds the Santa Anita record for 1 mile on the main track (1:33.40), which he set in 1989.
"Our coming out to Santa Anita just seemed a great fit," said Blowen. "But mostly, this was our way of thanking all of our West Coast supporters.”
The event is open to the public, though seating is limited, and donations will be accepted. The day includes a buffet lunch, programs, a cash bar, and a silent auction of racing memorabilia such as a “Moneigh” painting done by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) winner Tiznow , a mounted horseshoe worn by Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, and prints by the artist PEB. Races won by Old Friends horses will be shown on the track’s big screen and will also be simulcast on HRTV.
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that is home to nearly 30 retired racehorses. The program's Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, Ky. For information about tours and other retirees visit their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org