04/03/2014 2:31PM

Old Friends, New Vocations enter partnership


Old Friends and New Vocations, two Thoroughbred aftercare organizations with major presences in the Lexington, Ky., area, have entered into a partnership to allow both to better place retired racehorses, depending on the horse’s specific needs.

New Vocations rehabilitates, re-trains, and re-homes retired racehorses into suitable second careers. Old Friends is mainly a retirement facility, best known for its roster of pensioned stallions. Under the partnership arrangement, a horse donated to Old Friends who is suitable for a second career may be re-homed through New Vocations.

Old Friends is based in Georgetown, Ky., and is planning an expansion to that facility; it also has a satellite farm near Saratoga Springs, N.Y. New Vocations has main offices in Marysville, Ohio, but has multiple adoption centers in Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan, including a farm in Lexington, Ky.

Both Old Friends and New Vocations are among the aftercare facilities accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), a non-profit organization designed to serve as both an accrediting body for facilities that care for retired Thoroughbreds, and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities. Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen said earlier this year that the biggest benefit of his involvement with the TAA has been the opportunity to network with other retirement organizations to better place Thoroughbreds.

“It’s been a great boon to everyone,” Blowen said. “It’s allowed us to work out relationships with [New Vocations] to take the horses we have that can be retrained and have them retrain them. And then we take horses that need to be permanently retired from them.”

Old Friends will be the beneficiary of the “Hops and Horses” fundraiser celebration, being held Thursday, April 10 at 6 p.m. Eastern at West Sixth Brewery in Lexington. The event will feature jockeys Jean Cruget, winner of the Triple Crown aboard Seattle Slew; and Craig Perret, a finalist on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.

The event features commemorative glasses, sponsored by Southern States, celebrating Old Friends retiree Bull inthe Heather, with a special drawing by Anjelica Huston, along with copies of the Old Friends/Daily Racing Form magazine. Guests will also receive free selections and analysis of the "late double" for the Friday, April 11 races at Keeneland.