Sunday, July 23, 2017

Silver Charm

Of all the stars living at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms, none shines more brightly than Silver Charm.
Silver Charm is a multiple grade I Classic winner. He was trainer, Bob Baffert's first really big horse, and is best known for winning two thirds of the Triple Crown in 1997.
Photo by Charles Bertram, Lexington Herald-Leader
Ironically, Touch Gold, the horse who spoiled his Triple Crown bid, now lives next to him in at Old Friends.
Nearly everyone in our group was there to see Silver Charm... 
and he was happy...
to pose...
with all of us! 
Jodi, Mackenzie and I were not the only hobbyists in our group. There were several other Breyerfest attendees, including Jill O'Connor from Vermont.
It's not every day that I get to hang out with a Kentucky Derby winner, so I took lots...
and lots... 
and lots of photos. 
Because so many people had come expressly to see Silver Charm, our guide allowed us to spend a lot of time with him. Eventually, however, we were forced to move along. He stood for a moment and watched us go. Then he walked down the fence line to wait for his next group of admirers.
Silver Charm is a kind, distinguished horse and a true champion. I am so glad I got to meet him.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old Friends

There are a lot of Breyers at Breyerfest...
but there are a lot of real horses, too. 
Some of these horses live at the Kentucky Horse Park year round.
Others are there on a temporary basis, to take part in various events and competitions.
And then there are the thousands of horses, primarily Thoroughbreds, who live at one of the many expansive farms throughout the greater Lexington area.
I only managed to visit one of these farms, but it was a good one: Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms.
I was accompanied by two of my favorite people, Mackenzie...
and Jodi Purdy. 
We arrived early, and spent some time in the gift shop. 
Look at all those carrots! 
Then it was time for the tour.
The first horse we met was Sarava. 
This little guy spoiled War Emblem's 2002 Triple Crown bid with a surprise win in the Belmont Stakes.
The next horse was Genuine Reward. He was the first foal produced by Kentucky Derby winning filly, Genuine Risk. Although he did not inherit his mother's racing talent, he is a handsome, friendly horse, and I was happy to meet him.
 Although he did not inherit his mother's racing talent, he is a handsome, friendly horse, and I was happy to meet him.
Some of the other horses on our tour included Amazombie, winner of 2011 Breeders Cup Sprint,
Ide, winner of the 1996 Rebel Stakes,
 two of the horses who played Seabiscuit in the movie of the same name...
 and Tuneintobow, who did nothing of consequence but still deserves a happy retirement.
Of course, we also met Old Friends' biggest stars, but I took enough photos of those horses to merit several additional posts.
This was a really fun field trip and one of the best parts of my entire Breyerfest weekend. If you happen to find yourself in Lexington, be sure to visit Old Friends.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The (long) road to Breyerfest

My Breyerfest experience started at six pm mountain time on Tuesday, when Erin, Mel and Jason arrived on my doorstep. We loaded my stuff, took a couple pictures...
photo by James Buxton
and headed to Starbucks.
Once everyone was properly caffeinated, we started the long trip east to Lexington.
It was dark by the time we reached Kansas. Problems with the vehicle rental company had put the trip hours behind schedule, so there was no time to stop and rest.  
 Instead, we drove through the night. 
photo by Melanie Miller
I dozed off for a few hours after midnight and woke up to a beautiful Missouri sunrise. 
We drove over rivers... 
and bridges... 
and passed a million acres of Illinois corn.
Kidding/not kidding. 
Every now and then we stopped to fill the tank, clean the windshield, use the bathroom...
and catch Pokemons.
Mostly, however, we drove. 
I got a little excited when we reached Indiana, mostly because I'd never been there previously.
For the record, this part of Indiana looked a lot like Illinois, but with less corn.
Then--finally!--we saw something that was truly worth seeing...
Kentucky! 
We drove through the Louisville traffic... 
and on into... 
Lexington. 
We arrived at the Clarion Holiday Inn North (CHIN) around four pm Eastern time. 
I am probably two decades too old for this kind of crazy, nonstop roadtrip, but somehow this was fun. It's Breyerfest and normal rules do not apply!