Because 2003, the non-gain Previous Friends has offered a retirement home for thoroughbred racehorses, from the sport’s champions to the significantly less-heralded. Correspondent Mo Rocca travels to Georgetown, Ky., to meet founder Michael Blowen, a former movie critic whose enjoy of horses drew him to gamble on a new vocation, which is spending out in unpredicted techniques.
Video clip Transcript
– As you have viewed, the Preakness Stakes, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown was operate yesterday to terrific fanfare. But what takes place to the horses when their racing times are about? [INAUDIBLE] has found a retirement dwelling for champions.
– Can I have a kiss? Thank you.
– It is not typically a grown man goes all goo-goo eyed in excess of a horse, but which is just the influence Silver Attraction has on Michael Blowen.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Silver Charm is, with out a doubt, my favorite.
– Blowen’s infatuation dates back to 1997, when he watched Silver Attraction get the Kentucky Derby.
– Silver Allure at the rail. [INAUDIBLE] to the wire. This is the finish, Silver Attraction by a–
– But it was not until the stallion retired 17 yrs afterwards that Blowen lastly met his equine idol.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: I cannot imagine a happier person on the world earth, mainly because I get to wake up each individual morning and see Silver Attraction.
You appear fantastic.
Every working day. Every single working day.
– In 2003, Blowen started off Previous Pals, a retirement residence for thoroughbred race horses.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: We have about 275 acres now.
– Most of the a lot more than 240 horses are donated, and live on this sprawling Georgetown, Kentucky farm. It can be a position the place Blowen claims they can return to being them selves.
What do the horses do all day?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Whichever they want. Whatever they want.
– All citizens are dealt with similarly right here, from people that in no way created it inside the winner’s circle to some of racing’s most celebrated steeds. Breeders Cup winner Alphabet Soup spends all his time with a donkey named Beautiful George. Previous star sprinter Inexperienced Mask now likes to nip at people today.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Be awesome. Hey, infant.
– Occur on, we’re stating awesome points about you.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Come on.
– Minimal Silver Attraction likes to dangle out with Blowen. He is Outdated Friends’ unofficial mascot.
CHRIS MCCARRON: You are the champ. Which is what you are.
– Previous Friends attracts human champions much too. Corridor of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron has ridden numerous of the horses in this article, but he is got a delicate spot for Touch Gold.
CHRIS MCCARRON: Good boy.
– Silver Charm’s quest for the Triple Crown. McCarron rode Touch Gold in the 1997 Belmont Stakes, spoiling Silver Charm’s shot at the Triple Crown.
– And Touch Gold will deny him the crown by a coronary heart–
CHRIS MCCARRON: I just get the most significant kick out of the reality that Contact Gold and Silver Appeal are just a paddock absent from just about every other.
– I speculate if they at any time reminisce listed here.
CHRIS MCCARRON: I think the only competitors now is heading after Michael’s carrots.
– In all, inhabitants below have gained much more than $241 million on the keep track of. In addition, Blowen says, hundreds of thousands and thousands additional from stud obligations.
The financial worth of a horse disappears the last time it crosses the finish line.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: That’s right. Or the very last time he walks out of the breeding shed. That’s accurate.
– But not for you?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: No. In fact, to me, that’s the place existence starts.
Glimpse at you, here’s my buddy.
– But the 74-year-previous wasn’t generally this doting.
Have you always cherished horses?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: No.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: I was worried of them. I only appreciated horses mainly because I liked to consume and gamble.
– Blowen was a motion picture critic for The Boston World, when a colleague invited him to a nearby keep track of. Inevitably he started moonlighting there.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: I under no circumstances received paid out. I did stalls, and I took treatment of the horses.
– Had been you leading a double life?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Sure. I would get to the track around a quarter to 6. I get to the Globe by 9:30. I transform my clothing and took a shower, and it was like Clark Kent and Superman.
– Following extra than two many years at the paper–
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Come on.
– –it was time for Blowen’s next act. He and his wife, Diane White, a celebrated World columnist, took buyouts and headed south.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: By this time, I would fallen in love with the horses at the observe, because they test so challenging. Even the kinds that usually are not quite profitable, and sometimes at the end of their lives they’re not addressed as very well as they need to be.
– The dark facet of racing produced headlines all over the time Aged Close friends was setting up.
– And right here will come Ferdinand on the rail.
– In 2002, Ferdinand, the winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby, was reportedly despatched to slaughter.
– It can be Ferdinand in entrance on the outside pole arrangement.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: The thought that you could just toss them absent like that was seriously grotesque.
– Ferdinand’s tale brought interest to Old Friends’ mission. But Blowen claims it was nevertheless a tough start out.
Do you feel in the commencing, a good deal of men and women that you went to with this thought looked at you like, oh, weak dude, won’t know what he’s executing?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Yeah, I would listen to individuals. I would stroll away, and I could hear them in the track record earning exciting of me.
– These days no one’s laughing. About 20,000 spend to visit every single calendar year.
– The horses. I want to see the horses. I suggest, I’ve observed them operate. They are my idols.
Arrive on, child.
– Volunteers support the team with every little thing from leading tours to providing clinical care.
– Here you go.
– This is almost certainly far too major for him, ideal?
– Appropriate. Yes, sir. It truly is seeking to bite me now. [LAUGHING]
– There you go.
– You will find a Kentucky carrot slicer.
– For the previous 8 several years, veterinarian Bryan Waldridge has assisted choose treatment of these elderly equines. Alphabet Soup just turned 30.
How’s he executing?
BRYAN WALDRIDGE: He is performing excellent. These older horses, they shed entire body affliction and variety of a small little bit of decline of their power, but I’m genuinely joyful with them.
– I have it on great authority that you’ve under no circumstances presented this area with a bill. Why not?
BRYAN WALDRIDGE: I just do not believe you should. I imagine it’s Muhammad Ali that stated, the prize for living on this earth is doing good deeds. And I just owe it to these horses.
– Michael Blowen suggests he owes these horses as well, even after they are long gone.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: There is certainly 112 graves below. I keep in mind every horse separately and what built just about every of them exclusive.
– Do you nonetheless gamble?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Oh yeah. Cannot hold out. Sundays, I notify folks I am going to chapel. Do not bother me.
– But for Michael Blowen, Outdated Buddies has paid out in extra approaches than he could have imagined.
You are executing what you love.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Mm-hmm. How quite a few people today in the United States of The usa can wake up each individual early morning and say, this is great? The horses notify you to take it easy. Just just take it simple. Never stress about it. Things will function out. And so considerably, so excellent.
– And you can however drink and gamble?
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Sure. And on Sundays, he rested.
– And on Sunday he rested and, ideally, arrived out in advance.
MICHAEL BLOWEN: Ideal. [LAUGHING] That is exactly suitable.
[MUSIC – SAWYER BROWN, “THE RACE IS ON”]
Now the race is on and listed here comes satisfaction in the backstretch, heartaches are heading as a result of the inside of. My tears are keeping again, attempting not to fall. My heart’s out of the running.