Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby, online Derby hat fundraiser for Old Friends Equine Thoroughbred Retirement Facility, Kentucky Derby hats, couture Derby hats
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Please join us for
Wallenda Arrives at
stakes winner Wallenda has arrived at Old Friends, the
Thoroughbred retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY. The
17-year-old horse is the 5th stallion bred in North America that
has been returned to the United States from stud duty in Japan by
the non-profit organization.
A Kentucky Derby contender in 1993, Wallenda went on to win the Pennsylvania Derby and was then sent to the Florida Derby, but was bested there by Bull in the Heather, who as fate would have it, is now his paddock neighbor at Old Friends.
Wallenda’s greatest claim to racing fame, however, is his exciting win in the 1993 Super Derby by barely a nose to capture a purse of more that $400,000. His last race was the 1994 Donn Handicap, won that year by the invincible Cigar. In his racing career Wallenda earned just over $1.2 million.
The dark bay stallion had been sent overseas to stand stud in New Zealand and most recently stood at Toyosato Stallion Center in Hokkaido, Japan. He was purchased by Old Friends for $10,000 and has been in required quarantine at Alfred Nuckols Jr.’s Hurstland Farm in Midway, KY., since his arrival in the U.S. in early April.
“The return of Wallenda is a great example of how everyone working together can accomplish something; it really brings out the best side of racing,” said Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends.
Cot Campbell, former trainer Frank Alexander, and former members of the stallion’s syndicate all made significant donations to help raise the near $60,000 to complete Wallenda’s journey. An online campaign, “Fly Wallenda Home” also raised significant funds from fans and well wishers.
Blowen also went on to thank Narvick International and Ms. Megumi Igarashi for their continued help and guidance in securing stallions from overseas.
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November 20, 2011 – Old Friends Blog
This particular blog entry is one that I have put off for far too long. I put it off in large part because most of this blog’s regular readers will be aware that I am writing about my favorite horse in the world, and thus, I am perhaps not the most unbiased of persons. But then, where horses are concerned, aren’t we all biased?
So this is about Wallenda. He was a good racehorse, certainly. But he is also flat-out, no contest the toughest horse I have ever known. In a world where Thoroughbreds are considered to be ever more fragile, he has shown himself to be smarter, stronger and more determined than anyone could have predicted.
Wallenda, named after the patriarch of the famous circus family, amassed $1.2 million in earnings over a 33 race career. As a three year old in 1993 for Dogwood Stables, he won the Super Derby, the Pennsylvania Derby and ran second in the Blue Grass Stakes. He was Kentucky Derby worthy and in fact ran in the Derby that same year. Whenever I find myself in the Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, I stop to look for his name on the Derby wall. Even though he didn’t win, seeing his name listed there never fails to thrill me. After his racing career, Wallenda stood at stud in Kentucky, New Zealand, and ultimately ended up in Japan. In the summer of 2007, he joined the Old Friends roster.
was new to Old Friends as a volunteer at the same time Wallenda
arrived at the farm. Among my first memories of the deep-chested,
nearly black stallion is watching the Flying Wallenda family feed
carrots to Wallenda the horse, and then performing their high-wire
act at a farm fundraiser. Wallenda the horse is a carrot hound,
and a show-off. He is also a stallion, and not the kind you kiss
and fuss over. He is an active horse by nature, not above taking a
nip at anyone who annoys him, and not a particularly gentle or
simple horse to be around. Had I thought about it, I probably
would have said he was a not a horse that would be calm and
content as an indoor horse. I had no idea the path Wallenda was
about to walk.
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To place a bid on the “Wallenda” auction hat or to learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm, please visit the Old Friends website to access the eBay link or call them at 502-863-1775.
To view the couture Derby hats from previous hat auctions, please click on the following - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio