August 6, 2010 -- Bonnie's Poker, dam of 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, was humanely euthanized August 5 at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, Ky. The 28-year-old mare was suffering from EPM.
Trained by Anthony Dutrow, Robert Lake, and others, Bonnie's Poker (Poker - What a Surprise by Wise Margin) was a hard-knocking claimer in the 1980s, starting 63 times with 11 wins--including three wins in 10 days at Aqueduct in 1986--and 19 other appearances on the boards. Her earnings totaled $153,960.
She made her real claim to racing fame, however, as the dam of the brilliant Kentucky Derby (GR 1) and Preakness (GR 1) winner Silver Charm.
"She had the biggest heart," said Robbie Davis, one of several jockeys to ride Bonnie's Poker during her 4-year racing career. "She gave her best every time."
In 2003, Bonnie's owners, Bill and Kristie Jakeman of the Florida-based Latitude 27 farm, opted to pension the aging broodmare after she suffered complications delivering a Fusaichi Pegasus colt. "We almost lost her, and we did lose the foal," Kristie Jakeman told Glenye Cain of the Daily Racing Form. "We realized then it was over. We knew no one would buy her just to pay for her as a pet, and our vet suggested Old Friends." The Jakemans donated Bonnie in 2004.
"Bonnie was doing very well until the last few weeks," said Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen. "Then she started to develop some problems with rear end mobility." Consulting with Dr. Doug Byars, the decision was made to euthanize her before she became dangerous to herself and others.
"She was one of our big stars," continued Blowen. "She was proud and dignified until the very end."
Old Friends is a non-profit organization that cares for more than 100 retired racehorses. It's Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, Ky., is open to tourists daily by appointment. For more information about Old Friends or any of its retirees, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.