OLD FRIENDS A GREAT PLACE FOR THE DUDE
As sporting heroes ride off into the sunset, we are often left to wonder what happens to them once their name is no longer in lights. Rest assured, there will be no worries for Thoroughbred racing great Game On Dude now that he has hung up his racing bridle.
Game On Dude provided many thrills for sports fans over the past few years. Always running with tremendous heart and some excellent front-running speed, the Dude got his Game On to the tune of over $6.4 million in career earnings and 8 grade 1 race wins among his 16 lifetime triumphs. But alas, age caught up to the 7-year old son of Awesome Again and the only three-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap needed to close the book on his racing career. So what happens to a horse racing great once his days at the track are over?
As a gelding, Game On Dude has no future in the breeding shed. Realizing his best days at the track were behind him, Bernie Schiappa and the rest of the Dude ownership group decided it was time to turn to a new chapter. But what would be next for one of the most dominant runners in California horse racing history? After some careful consideration, the Dude and his inspiring presence were sent to Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Old Friends is a horse retirement farm located in what some consider the center of the Thoroughbred world. Nestled amongst the likes of Winstar Farm, Claiborne Farm, and Keeneland Race Course to name a few, Old Friends is a wonderfully run facility that honors both sport and athlete. With a roster that includes the likes of Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Gulch, Breeders Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer, the all-time money winning Ohio-bred Cat Launch, the oldest living descendant of Sea Biscuit Mixed Pleasure, Breeders’ Cup Sprint champ and Eclipse award winner Amazombie, and of course the Dude, it is no doubt a special place. As Old Friends president Michael Blowen says, “It’s like coming to the hall of fame and seeing all the great players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson in person”.
Blowen and his staff obviously have a great love for not only the sport, but also all of the players as well. Relationships are quickly developed with all of the horses roaming on the rolling pasture that spans some 130-plus acres. Game On Dude will fit in quite nicely as these superstars are pampered and allowed to interact with a knowledgeable staff and those fans taking the daily tours. With the well-being of the residents at the top of the priority list, Old Friends can give all sports fans a warm fuzzy when it comes to knowing what has become of some of the past greats.
The Dude may not be getting his Game On at the racetrack anymore, but thanks to the kind-hearted staff and sponsors of Old Friends, he will enjoy the fruits of all the glory he gained coming out of the starting gates. The farm is located at 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, Kentucky 40324.