Old Friends celebrates 'amazing' Silver Charm's 25th birthday

Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Ky., celebrated 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm’s 25th birthday on Friday, when Old Friends founder Michael Blowen welcomed guests to visit with the champion.

The festivities were complete with birthday cake and cards from his fans.

“I was barely able to watch his ’97 Derby on TV at Suffolk Downs, and now he’s in my yard and we’re celebrating his 25th birthday,” Blowen told E.J. Clark, host of the Kentucky Winner’s Circle radio show. “It’s just unbelievable. He was standing at stud in Japan for 11 years, and when they decided to bring him back, they selected this farm as a place for him, as a suitable retirement place, is just unbelievable.

“I’m really, really pleased. He’s just an amazing, amazing animal and an amazing friend."

Silver Charm entered stud in 2000 and stood at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., before he was relocated to Japan. He returned to the U.S. in 2014, retiring to Old Friends.

Bob Baffert trained Silver Charm for the late Bob and Beverly Lewis, with their horse also experiencing success as a 4-year-old. In 1998 he won the Dubai World Cup and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to Awesome Again. Silver Charm retired in 1999 with a 24: 12-7-2 record and nearly $7 million in earnings. 

“That field that he ran against in the Breeders’ Cup might have been the greatest Breeders’ Cup field ever,” Blowen said. “They had Swain and Awesome Again and Skip Away. You go through the whole list, there wasn’t a bad horse in the whole race. They were all champions, in one form or another.”

While Silver Charm resides at the main Old Friends location in Georgetown, other divisions include Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, N.Y., and Old Friends at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky.

Blowen founded Old Friends in 2003. The farm is home to both veteran claimers and champions and. Guests can visit the horses up close and learn about the horses’ history on tours.

Silver Charm has been a main attraction since his arrival.

“We tracked visitors before Silver Charm got here, but now it’s like having Elvis here,” Blowen said. “It’s like he’s the king, and he knows it, and the people know it, and he’s kind and he’s gentle and he’s lovely with people. He does everything right.”

 

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