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Artist Kiptoo Tarus creates sculpture honoring Medina Spirit at Old Friends Farm

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Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 19, 2022

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX18) — A tree in front of Old Friends Farm is getting a new look. A local artist is giving the tree new life by making it into a sculpture. The piece will honor Medina Spirit, who faced some controversy earlier this year but is now being honored.

Artist Kiptoo Tarus is working on the sculpture that will honor Medina Spirit.

Tarus says, "You know, it's always a good challenge for me, and I always try to push myself to actually actualize."

When Old Friends began almost 20 years ago, its founder says the goal was to focus on thoroughbreds' aftercare, including memorials.

Old Friends President and Founder Michael Blowen said, "We want the focus not to be on the controversy, the disqualification, or whatever happened."

Employees didn't want to see such an old part of the land go. Supporters Bob and Jill Baffert stepped in to make this memorial possible. Medina Spirit means a lot to many Kentuckians including this farm's founder. He says Medina Spirit is an example for everyone.

"He's a great example to the rest of us. He was a tough little horse that just was...fought all the time and unfortunately dies too early, but we think this is a great memorial. The Zedan family has been very good about letting us bury him here, and we're honored that Kiptoo is making this great sculpture in his honor," said Blowen.

Arborists estimate that the sycamore tree being sculpted at Old Friends is about 100 years old. The artist says that he felt that it was his responsibility to bring it new life.

"If not it would have been dead, or cut down, or mashed down. Now you're creating another space another world for this tree. You know that to me is really powerful to me that you can have the capacity to do that," Tarus said

Tarus is creating this sculpture primarily using a series of chainsaws. When people pass by or visit this area, he hopes that it creates new emotions in them.

"Every day you come in, and I think you always get something different every time -- you know, and sometimes it just depends on your emotions at that point," says Tarus.

The artist began working on the sculpture honoring Medina Spirit earlier this week and hopes to have the project completed by the end of the month.