Old Friends

Fighting City Hall, who made more than 100 career starts while racing on the West Coast, earned a well-deserved retirement home at Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky. Credit: Laura Battles

Services: Sanctuary

Location: Georgetown, KY

Founded: 2003

Website: oldfriendsequine.org

Social: Image result for facebook logo instagram_stories free icon

Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 200



Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., has helped put a new face on the concept of equine aftercare.

Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown into a 236-acre sanctuary caring for more than 200 rescued and retired horses. There’s even a satellite facility: Old Friends at Cabin Creek in upstate New York, near Saratoga Springs.

Blowen had long believed that horses past their prime could still be valuable – money-earning, even—if the venue was right. And so Old Friends tested the concept by opening its doors to the public, inviting fans to come and visit their turf heroes. And come they did. The farm attracts more than 20,000 visitors annually who come to swoon over such champions as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm, Belmont Stakes winners Touch Gold, Sarava and Birdstone, three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, fan favorite and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful Patch, New York super-star Diversify, and warriors of the turf Hogy and Soi Phet. And while such rock stars draw crowds, the revenue they raise supports hard-knockers like Easy Grades, a one-time Kentucky Derby contender who ended up struggling in cheap claiming races at the age of 10, and Fighting City Hall, a frequent Portland Meadows and Emerald Downs contender, who made 103 career starts.

In 2014, Old Friends was presented with a Special Eclipse Award to honor extraordinary service in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

But perhaps the greatest reward of all has been the respect and support of the owners, trainers, and fans who not only donate to the cause of protecting these amazing athletes but come to the farm to pay homage to these beloved horses. Our guests may come to visit a few ex-racehorses, but they leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.

Old Friends offers guided walking tours daily, plus private tours and a founder’s tour are also available (both upon request). Reservations are required and may be made at www.oldfriendsequine.org or by calling (502) 863-1775.

Old Friends Success Stories

Pollard's Vision at Old Friends

Pollard’s Vision – Blind in his right eye since birth, Pollard’s Vision was named after Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard. Old Friends welcomed new retiree Pollard’s Vision mid-March 2020. Read more >>


Ivan Fallunovalot success story

Ivan Fallunovalot – The Old Friends resident Old Friends, made a total of 32 starts in his six seasons on the track, accumulating a 17-6-2 record and earning just over $1 million. Read more >>


Game On Dude at Old Friends

Game On Dude – Multiple graded stakes winner and multimillionaire Game on Dude is a popular resident at Old Friends. Read more >>


Big Blue Nation

Big Blue Nation – Warhorse Big Blue Nation earned just over $240,000 in his seven seasons and 65 starts on the track. Read more >>