(Edited press release)
Tracy and Carol Farmer have chosen Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, Ky., as the permanent home for two-time Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Commentator, it was announced Oct. 2.
The 8-year-old gelding is currently at Mike Evans’ Sheltowee Farm in Versailles, Ky., and will be shipped to the 92-acre Georgetown facility on Oct. 4.
Campaigned for six seasons by the Farmers and trainer Nick Zito, Commentator ended his career in August having won 14 of 24 starts and a bankroll of $2,049,845. In addition to his victories in the Whitney, he captured Gulfstream Park’s Richter Scale Handicap (gr. II) and the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs, which he won by 14 lengths. He also set two track records.
Of his 14 career victories, Commentator’s narrowest margin of victory was a neck, when he went wire-to-wire to defeat eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam in the 2005 Whitney. In six of his wins he triumphed by 10 lengths or more.
His last race–an attempt to match the three-time Whitney win records set by Kelso and Discovery–resulted in a third-place finish.
Commentator was bred in New York by Michael Martinez and is out of the Storm Bird mare Ousource.
“I think they do a great job, and we’re going to be helping them however we can,” said Tracy Farmer of Old Friends. “And not just for Commentator, but for other horses too. My wife, Carol, and I want a place for horses such as Commentator to retire, and we want (Old Friends) to be very successful. Michael Blowen just does a terrific job.”
Said Blowen: “I am overwhelmed by both the trust and generosity Mr. and Mrs. Farmer has shown toward Old Friends. To have a great athlete like Commentator with his huge fan base come to Old Friends is like having Elvis in the building.
“I also want to thank Nick Zito for keeping this horse in such remarkable condition. Commentator is retiring perfectly sound, and that alone is a testament to his great training and care over the years.”
Blowen noted that Farmer will also be donating stallion seasons in many of his great breeders to support Commentator and the more than 70 Thoroughbreds cared for by Old Friends.
On Oct. 20, Old Friends will hold a special celebration called “Jockey Day.” Many of the jocks that rode Old Friends retirees and the newly arrived Commentator will serve as the special guests. Expected attendees include the Farmers, Calvin Borel, Kent Desormeaux, Jon Court, Chris McCarron, Jean Cruguet, Randy Romero, and Bobby Ussery, among many others.
Commentator’s fans can visit him anytime after Oct. 7. He joins recent retirees Black Tie Affair, Jade Hunter, Tour of the Cat, Sgt Bert, Sea Native, Marshall Rooster, and Bluesthestandard.
Old Friends is open to the public and conducts three guided tours daily. Fans are invited to visit with the great son of Distorted Humor along with the 53 other Thoroughbred champions pensioned at the farm.