By Tracy Gantz
Millionaire Futural, who won the 2001 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) and San Bernardino Handicap (gr. II) and has most recently been running at Hastings Park, is being retired to Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky. Southern California equine photographer Katey Barrett spearheaded efforts to send the gelding to Old Friends, and his current owners, Donald Muldoon and trainer Dave Milburn, are paying to ship Futural from Canada to Kentucky.After Barrett took photos of Futural in 2001, she fell in love with him. "When I photograph these horses, I often get connected to them," she said.Then a 5-year-old, the son of Future Storm-Twigazuri, by Dixieland Band, won that year's San Bernardino at Santa Anita and Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park. He also finished first in the 2001 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), but was disqualified and placed third behind Aptitude and Skimming.Barrett followed Futural's career, even after he was claimed for $80,000 at Hollywood and eventually ended up running at Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia. She contacted Milburn and asked if she could find him a home when he was finished racing."They were very enthusiastic about it and are thrilled that he is going to Old Friends," Barrett said.Now 10 years old, Futural is expected to arrive at Old Friends in about a week."Katey is absolutely the one who got this going," said Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends. "She first mentioned him to me about six or seven months ago. She has a deep, deep affection for this horse."Former jockey Chris McCarron has also gotten involved."Chris lives just a few miles from us," said Blowen, "and he also has a deep affection for this horse."McCarron piloted Futural to his LeRoy victory and was aboard him in the Gold Cup, one of the few major races to elude McCarron during his riding career."We're very excited about having Futural at Old Friends," Blowen said. "He was a great racehorse."Futural was slated to parade at Hastings last Sunday, Nov. 26, but a snowstorm caused cancellation of the card after the first race."They had him all dolled up," Blowen said, "so they brought him up to the track anyway and had some pictures taken."Futural will join horses such as Ogygian, Sunshine Forever, and Awad at Old Friends. Two other major Southern California runners, 1990 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner Ruhlmann and 2003 Californian (gr. II) winner Kudos, are also at the facility."We get a lot of support from California," Blowen said.