Old Friends celebrates 17th Homecoming
The thoroughbred retirement farm is home to more than 100 horse racing champions
GEORGETOWN, Ky (WTVQ)- A big weekend for the horse industry continued Sunday, this time in Georgetown.
That’s where the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms celebrated its’ homecoming.
“So peaceful and you get to meet true superstars up here,” said visitor Carolyn Perry.
141 superstars to be exact. That’s how many retired thoroughbreds call the retirement farm their final destination after years of racing glory.
On Sunday, hundreds came to town after the Kentucky Derby for the farm’s 17th homecoming.
“They’re coming here to see these amazing athletes- these beautiful horses,” said Old Friends founder Michael Blowen. “They can see that they’re really cared for. We have the best team here now than we’ve ever had in the twenty year history of this place.”
There were tours, food, a silent auction, and a live band- all to mark the special occasion for the “living history museum of horse racing.”
“Once people get here and they see the horses and they tell that they have these stories and every single one has a different story then its easy to get behind them,” said volunteer Viven Morrison
Organizers say this year is special because they’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of Silver Charm’s Kentucky Derby win.
“He is the oldest living Derby winner now, and the oldest living Preakness winner, as a matter of fact. We really enjoy having him here and having all these great people come back after all these years,” said Blowen.
Since 2003, the farm has had a major impact on the local economy.
“We bring visitors here from all over the world,” Blowen siad. “And one of the things that we’re proving is that these horses have tremendous value even beyond their racing and their breeding years because they are tourist attractions and that’s why they come here.”
That helps make Old Friends a peaceful place for the champion thoroughbreds to live out the rest of their lives.
“If they can’t be show horse or a jumping horse or massage horse, they’re gonna need a place,” said Morrison “And those are the horses- the pasture pets- those are the ones that have a hard time finding that forever home. So if you support old friends, you are supporting a lot of that may not have been here otherwise.”
To learn more about Old Friends, click here.