To celebrate the arrival of the recently retired grade II winner Ball Four at Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement center near Georgetown, Ky., the 10-year-old son of Grand Slam will make an appearance at Keeneland April 16, Blue Grass Stakes Day, as part of the track’s “Breakfast with the Works” program.
Ball Four was donated to the facility by owner Bruce Golden and trainer David Jacobson, and was shipped to Kentucky March 12.
Joining Ball Four with be special guest Jim Bouton, former New York Yankee pitcher and author of the acclaimed baseball diary Ball Four.
Fans attending the event can meet both retired athletes and purchase autographed copies of Ball Four. A portion of the proceeds will go to Old Friends.
The event will take place in the Keeneland paddock area beginning at 8:45 am.
“We’re honored to have two great athletes visiting Old Friends and Keeneland,” said Old Friends founder Michael Blowen in a release. “Jim Bouton was kind enough to come and meet his equine equivalent, and we're hoping fans will come out and say hello to Ball Four and to the author of Ball Four.”
“I knew there was a horse out there named Ball Four, but beyond that I didn’t have more detail,” said Bouton. “A lot of people assumed I owned the horse,” he laughed.
Bouton, who once covered behind-the-scenes racing stories at Belmont Park when he was a TV sportscaster in New York, added that he is “delighted to see that people wanted to treat this horse well and to do the right thing by him. I am happy that there are people who love horses enough, especially older horses, and want to care for them,” he said. “I am very excited to be a part of this.”
As part of his visit to the Bluegrass, Bouton will also throw out the first pitch at the Lexington Legend’s game April 14. Ball Four’s victory in the 2008 Fayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland will be shown on the ballpark’s big screen.