Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, has joined with Lexington’s Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center and CANTER Michigan to permanently retire two Thoroughbreds, Ferdinand’s Star and Mikethespike.
Michael Blowen, Old Friends founder and president, made the announcement today.
Ferdinand’s Star, a son of 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand out of the Dare to Command mare Rose and Betty, comes to Old Friends from The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, an equine adoption and rehabilitation facility located at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The 16-year-old gelding is a testament to the versatility of the Thoroughbred as he has run the gamut of careers since making his first start on the racetrack in 1998.
On the track, Ferdinand’s Star had approximately 10 starts and earned about $4,000. His only career win came at River Downs when he broke his maiden.
He was retired from racing and was retrained as a competitive Dressage horse. The family donated Ferdinand’s Star to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation when he was no longer able to compete due to soundness issues.
Sent to Maker’s Mark in 2008, the gelding was eventually able to be a lightly used school horse and a facility mascot, but a tendon injury ended his career for the second time.
Before retiring to Old Friends, Ferdinand’s Star was briefly part of the equine rehabilitation program at Blackburn Prison and also spent several months being “clicker” trained by Nicholasville, KY-based artists and equine advocate Marti McGinnis.
“He was hilarious,” says McGinnis. “By the end of our time together he was targeting well and was beginning to play soccer. We loved getting to be with him those months, and I was as happy as can be when Michael told me Ferdinand’s Star was coming to Old Friends.”
According to Blowen, Ferdinand’s Star will spend his remaining years at Old Friends in a paddock alongside a relative, Bull inthe Heather, another son of the great Ferdinand.
Meanwhile, 11-year-old Mikethepsike (Anet – Black Tie Royalty by Black Tie Affair) recently arrived from Michigan where CANTER associate Gail Hirt has fostered him.
Bred in Florida by Donald R. Dizney, Mike is a grandson of Old Friends retiree Black Tie. The Appgolucky Memorial Trust, which was spearheaded by Old Friends volunteer Vivian Morrison, funded his pensioning.
During his career the gray gelding had an incredible 125 starts and 12 wins. His earnings total $84,941. He suffered a career-ending injury during his last race at Pinnacle in Huron Township, Michigan.
“These horses are a great symbol of how Old Friends, The TRF, CANTER and other organizations can work together to safely retire and care for Thoroughbreds whose racing careers are over,” said Blowen. “We’re very excited to have them both with us.”
For more information about Ferdinand’s Star, Mikethespike, or any of the retirees at Old Friends contact the farm at (502) 863-1775.
About Old Friends
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 110 retired racehorses. It’s Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.
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