Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Old Friends along the Bourbon Trail

Ollie and I are really on to something good.  I had the nicest ride on him today.  He even offered up a nice forward and ROUND trot.  It was lovely!  My main mission is to build up his confidence so I didn't push and over do a good thing but I did gush on him.  He loves that!

Now I want to backtrack a bit and tell you about the Old Friends along the Bourbon Trail fundraiser from this past weekend.   Matt and I love Old Friends.  There isn't another person on the planet like Old Friend's founder Michael Blowen.  He's happiest when he's out in the paddocks taking care of the horses.  And there's no place like Old Friends!  So many great thoroughbreds!  And some are not even great from racing! 

The fundraiser was held in Louisville, KY at the historic Seelbach Hotel.  It's SO COOL inside!  People came from all over the U.S. for the fundraiser.   All the big distilleries were there and lots of cool things were being auctioned off in both a live and a silent auction. 
The greeters!
People making bids on the silent auction item.
A Secretariat and Barbaro print signed by Penny Chenery and Roy & Gretchen Jackson.

A very pretty horse hair vase made from the hair of Affirmed Success.
We had a wonderful dinner in the Oak Room of the hotel.  This room has amazing woodwork in it and the restaurant is one of only two 5 diamond restaurants in the city.  As you can imagine we had a very fine meal!

Then back to the room with the auction items where we went into a fun and lively auction of more items!

Many people bid on the live auction items!

The auctioneer was working the crowd!
In the end, money for a good charity was raised  and some people won themselves some great deals!  Personally, I would have liked to have gotten the 6 seat box seats for the Kentucky Derby which went for only $325!!!  CRAZY! 

During the evening, I had an enjoyable conversation with a board member of Old Friends, Carol Nyren.  She is the owner of a very good race horse named Dry Martini.  Matt and I first met Carol the other night when we thought we were taking photos of Sea Native.  Carol told us she retired Dry Martini two days earlier.  When I saw her at the fundraiser I asked her more about his retirement.  Dry Martini was retired sound after earning over $1 million.  His last big win was in the Suburban Handicap at Saratoga.  He's big time!  And he has a great owner in Carol.  Carol is an owner with a plan for her horses after their racing days.  I commend her for this!  Every one of her race horses contribute a percentage of their winnings towards their retirement.   Dry Martini has a good retirement fund...  But regardless of his retirement fund, Dry Martini is 8 yrs old and perfectly healthy!  He has alot of good years in him so Carol has let him go to a friend of mine to be retrained as a hunt horse or whatever!  He's going to my good friend Penny Woolley, wife of Tim Woolley whose website was the go to place for Barbaro information immediately after he broke down in the Preakness.  Penny and Tim will be excellent caretakers of this gray guy!  I had no idea Penny was getting Dry Martini!  Carol and I had a good laugh that I knew Penny.  Carol found Penny through Barclay Tagg's assistant trainer Robin Smullens.  Penny and Robin are very good friends.  Small world!  The best part is that Dry Martini will have a spot at Old Friends when his days of hacking the Fair Hill countryside are over. 

There was some great bourbon tasting - not my thing but many enjoyed it!  Matt and I had a great time photographing the event.  We were wiped out afterwards but did enjoy our stay at the Seelbach Hotel... 

Thanks Old Friends for having us!  We hope to see you again next year!!


  1. Thanks for sharing this great event. What interesting stories about Dry Martini. I'm so glad to read about owners like his.

  2. Wow, what a nice event. Thanks for posting about Carol, the responsible TB breeder. I think more stories need to get out there about the good ones who really care about their horses!

  3. I agree about responsible breeders doing the right thing by their horses. I also applaud responsible trainers (Nick Zito for one), owners (Mike Repole, for one), and tracks (Finger Lakes, for one) for doing the right as well.

    Thanks for the report!! And good on Ollie for doing well--and good on YOU for gushing about it. I say "good boy" enough times that my horse responds to the words. Love that ;o)