November 18, 2009 -- Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, announced the opening of his organization's first satellite facility for retired Thoroughbreds. Cabin Creek, a 40-acre farm just outside Saratoga in Greenfield Center, NY, will begin receiving horses immediately. An official opening and celebration is planned for July 22, 2010.
This premiere auxiliary space will be named in honor of trainer Bobby Frankel, who passed away earlier this week after a battle with leukemia. A native New Yorker, Frankel was a long supporter of the Old Friends mission and earned many of his greatest victories at New York racetracks. The farm will formally be known as "Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division."
Owned by Joann and Mark Pepper, Cabin Creek features 12 stalls, two round pens, five finished paddocks, and has raw space available for development and growth. The first resident, Moonshadow Gold--a 10-year-old New York-bred gelding acquired through the efforts of several equine-welfare advocates--will arrive later this week.
The property will be leased by Old Friends, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization based in Georgetown, Ky., which will continue to control all acquisitions and financials.
The Peppers, who built Cabin Creek from scratch 15 years ago, will handle day-to-day operations.
"When we built the farm my goal was to do Thoroughbred retirement," said Joann, who began her life with horses as a groom for Nick Zito. "Initially we did boarding and foaling as a way to establish ourselves, but I always came back to the idea of retirement. I had read about Old Friends, and this summer a piece in the Saratogian prompted me to call Michael," she continued. "I explained that my farm was empty and I wanted to emulate what he was doing. It just clicked that we would do it together. And it's really an honor to dedicate our farm to a man like Bobby Frankel who had such a great love of horses."
In 2003 former Boston Globe journalist Michael Blowen began building his "field of dreams"--Old Friends, a retirement home for Thoroughbreds no longer capable of racing or breeding. In 2009 the farm has grown to more than 92-acres and is home to 70-plus ex-race horses all deserving of a dignified career end. It is open to the public daily and attracts thousand of tourists and fans to central Kentucky annually. It has long been an objective of the group to launch additional facilities wherever horse racing and breeding are prominent.
"This was just an amazing opportunity," said Blowen, who finalized arrangements with the Peppers just last week. "I have always felt there was a need for Old Friends all over the country.
"While I was on my way back from Saratoga I heard about Bobby's passing," Blowen continued, "and I immediately thought that a place in New York that was home to both top champions and bottom claimers would be a perfect memorial to his career. Any horse trained by Frankel will be given priority at Old Friends at Cabin Creek."
The launch on July 22, 2010, will be open to the public and will feature a memorial to Frankel and his auspicious career. More information will be released closer to the date.
Old Friends cares for more than 70 retired racehorses. It's Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, Ky., is open to tourists daily by appointment. For more information about Cabin Creek or Old Friends visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.