(edited press release)
Multiple stakes winner Wallenda has arrived at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY. The 17-year-old horse is the 5th stallion bred in North America that has been returned to the United States from stud duty in Japan by the non-profit organization.
Named after the famous aerialist Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas, the horse was by Peter M. Brant and Haras Santa Maria de Araras, and was purchased later by Dogwood Stables. Wallenda is by Gulch, had seven wins from his 33 lifetime starts, and ran in the money an additional 10 times.
A Kentucky Derby contender in 1993, Wallenda went on to win the Pennsylvania Derby and was then sent to the Florida Derby, but was bested there by Bull in the Heather, who as fate would have it, is now his paddock neighbor at Old Friends.
Wallenda’s greatest claim to racing fame, however, is his exciting win in the 1993 Super Derby by barely a nose to capture a purse of more that $400,000. His last race was the 1994 Donn Handicap, won that year by the invincible Cigar. In his racing career Wallenda earned just over $1.2 million.
The dark bay stallion had been sent overseas to stand stud in New Zealand and most recently stood at Toyosato Stallion Center in Hokkaido, Japan. He was purchased by Old Friends for $10,000 and has been in required quarantine at Alfred Nuckols Jr.’s Hurstland Farm in Midway, KY., since his arrival in the U.S. in early April.
“The return of Wallenda is a great example of how everyone working together can accomplish something; it really brings out the best side of racing,” said Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends.
Cot Campbell, former trainer Frank Alexander, and former members of the stallion’s syndicate all made significant donations to help raise the near $60,000 to complete Wallenda’s journey. An online campaign, “Fly Wallenda Home” also raised significant funds from fans and well wishers.
Blowen also went on to thank Narvick International and Ms. Megumi Igarashi for their continued help and guidance in securing stallions from overseas.
To mark the return of the celebrated stallion, Old Friends is hosting an open house/fundraiser July 13-15 that will be highlighted by a welcome-home performance by Tino Wallenda and the rest of the Flying Wallenda family on July 14 at the Old Friends Farm. For ticket information call (502) 863-1775.
Founded by Michael Blowen in 2003, Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization dedicated to providing a dignified retirement to former racehorses when their racing and breeding careers are over. For more information on the horses, tours, or for booking stays at the Old Friends Bed & Breakfast see their website www.oldfriendsequine.org or call (502) 863-1775.