GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX18) — A special $1,000 mint julep from Woodford Reserve will help raise money for retired thoroughbreds that live at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown.
The farm in Scott County is home to past Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winners. It's a place where thoroughbreds can go live comfortably and age with dignity after their racing days and breeding years are over. And, there's really never a dull moment around here.
"People think that I planned all this, but it just evolved and I just got out of its way."
The moves Michael Blowen has made are immeasurable when it comes to helping retired racehorses.
"We had war emblem here, who won the Derby and the Preakness and almost won the Triple Crown, and coincidentally enough, we have the horse that beat him in the Belmont, Sarava. We of course have Silver Charm, who won the Derby and the Preakness in 1997. And we have the horse that beat him in the Belmont, Touch Gold--and ruined his Triple Crown. One of the great things about horses is they don't hold grudges," said Blowen.
Caring for these numerous horses is a big job, and several weeks ago Blowen found out old friends would be the beneficiary of the Woodford Reserve Charity Mint Julep program.
"We were thrilled. I mean, obviously, it generates a lot of income. it means we can do a lot of things around here that need to get done."
One of those things he's hoping to get done with the help of the donation is to renovate a big barn and use it as a way to show people what some of these horses did before they retired here.
"A lot of people come to this farm that have never seen these horses races. So, in that big black tobacco barn over there, we're going to re-do all of that. We're going to put in restrooms, it is going to be a visitors center, and, it's going to have a giant TV so people can see what they were like when they were getting all the headlines and making all the money."
It's the two minutes here and there on race tracks around the country and world that put these horses on the map, but it's when they wind up at this farm, in Scott County that they can continue to thrive and continue to make an impact.
"On a personal level, it's really great because it really does prove that these horses have tremendous economic value even beyond their racing and breeding years."
Blowen has been here for those years taking care of these horses once they leave Churchill Downs and everyone goes home.
1999 Derby and Preakness winners Charismatic and War Emblem are buried there, and Medina Spirit who died this past December after his Derby run in May of last year is buried there, too.
Old Friends Farm welcomes tours, but they are sold out for the next month and a half.