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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Ferdinand’s Ball: Helping to Save our Old Friends

We are only three weeks from one of the highlights of the year for racing fans. If you are like me, and cannot wait to get to Louisville each year to soak in all the Kentucky Derby festivities, please let me suggest a wonderful way to spend that week's Thursday evening ... Ferdinand's Ball.
I've made attending the Ferdinand's Ball a regular event on my Derby schedule, and it is easily one of the highlights of an already fantastic weekend. Guests are greeted with great food and drinks, and even better company. For some unknown reason, Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl and supermodel, Kate Upton, the host back in 2011, remains my favorite of all the celebrities that have been seen at the gala affair over the years. Most importantly, Ferdinand's Ball is held every year for one of the very best reasons I can possibly think of ... the benefit of retired horses.
The annual fundraiser was created in honor of the fantastic horse Ferdinand, and one hundred percent of the funds raised that night will go to benefit Old Friends Equine. For those of you who don’t already know, Ferdinand was a beautiful chestnut colt who in 1986 won the Kentucky Derby, and the following year was named Horse of the Year. His greatness on the track was unable, however, to prevent his life from tragically ending in a Japanese slaughterhouse in 2002. To help make sure such a thing never happens again, organizers have created this wonderful fund raising event.
This kick-off to Derby Weekend is a unique gala that features celebrity hosts and guests, live entertainment, gourmet food and drinks, a silent auction and much more. This year the celebration will be held at the Muhammad Ali Center in Downtown Louisville on Thursday, May 2. Ferdinand’s Ball draws celebrities, athletes, and community leaders in Ferdinand’s honor, to raise awareness and funds, so that beloved horses like Ferdinand can live happily ever after their racing and breeding careers are over. They have chosen a great beneficiary of their fund raising efforts in Old Friends, of Georgetown, Kentucky. Old Friends is a selfless farm, run by Michael Blowen, and it also happens to be one of my favorite charities.
More than 20,000 visitors come to Old Friends every year to see the horses that thrilled them on the track, like Commentator (left) who is as friendly as could be. Old Friends is a haven for at risk racehorses (those that no longer can make their owners money.) They provide these rescued horses the dignified retirement they deserve. They also allow the horses and their many fans the opportunity to visit with each other in a peaceful and well maintained environment. Old Friends successfully promotes these celebrated horses through education and tourism, to draw attention to all retired Thoroughbreds and all equines in need. Simply stated, without Old Friends, many of these horses would no longer be with us.
At this time the organizers of Ferdinand’s Ball are in need of donations to insure the event’s success. There are a variety of sponsorship options, as well as, need for donations to become part of the evening’s silent auction.
I do not ask much from my readers, but this one is something I truly believe in. If you love the thoroughbred like I do, and are able to help in any way, please do.
For Questions or to become a Sponsor, please contact:
Kim Boyle: 859-462-9505, kmboyle0@gmail.com or
Aimee Wulfeck: 859-250-5700, abwulfeck@insightbb.com
For more information on Old Friends, please visit:


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Older Comments about Ferdinand’s Ball: Helping to Save our Old Friends ...

This year you may get to meet Rosie Napravnik as she is the recipient of the Ferdinand Award this year. Plus, the award will be presented by Jeannine Edwards of ESPN! Come one, come all!!!!
Great cause, and bonus, you get to meet Jessie.
I donated my items last month, and hope to see you all there for another successful and fun evening. :)
I give to a few thoroughbred retirement organizations on a regular basis. It's the least that we can do to respect the horses that give us so much enjoyment!
My favorite as well Brian! And I will see you again this year.
There's lots of organizations we need to support that rescue thoroughbreds on a weekly basis. Support all of them, not just old friends.
Consider it done, Mike!
I haven't been lucky enough to attend a Ferdinand's Ball but I have been to Old Friends several times. It is a super place, from Little Silver Charm to Gulch the horses are well taken care of and happy. All racing fans should support Old Friends, and there is also an Old Friends in Saratoga. Brian I am sure you will have a great time at the Ball and please take pictures if another super model is the host.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website, and co-hosts the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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