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Fans Gather for “Calvin Borel Day” at Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY—July 1, 2009—Calvin Borel, the affable Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks-winning jockey, paid a visit yesterday to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility, and was met by nearly 200 admiring fans.

Borel made the trip from Louisville to the Georgetown, KY farm with fiancée Lisa Funk and agent Jerry Hissam. Arriving just after 4 pm, he was greeted by three TV news crews, various reporters, and fans anxious to shake hands, get autographs, and talk about what it’s like to ride the great Rachel Alexandra. (“She’s something else,” he told one devotee.) Some fans traveled from as far away as Michigan and St. Louis to meet the rider.

The day’s guests included Triple Crown-winning jockey Jean Cruguet, Susan Donaldson of the famed Mereworth Farm, Frank and Jane Lyons of neighboring Summer Wind Farm (Jane is co-author of the children's book "Skipingo Home,"), an enthusiastic group from Town and Country Farm, and representatives from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Blue Grass Tours of Lexington graciously sent a courtesy van to ferry other supporters from Churchill Downs, including HRTV’s Cathy Riccio-Bowlds and artist Dan Rhema.

Once at the farm guests enjoyed a sumptuous sandwich buffet done by Midway’s Wallace Station restaurant and refreshing Ale-8-One slushies.

After meeting with Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen, Borel and Funk took a tour of the farm, which included a reunion with Borel’s former mount Mark of Success. Funk especially enjoyed meeting Clever Allemont, the 26-year-old son of Clever Trick who was rescued and retired to Old Friends in January.

After the tour and some supper, Borel settled in to autograph well over 100 photos and posters of Derby winner Mine That Bird and super filly Rachel Alexandra (donated by Matt Wooley's EquiSport Photos, photographer Suzie Picou-Oldham, and Alltech). He also graciously posed for picture after picture.

“A place like this makes horse racing good,” Borel told reporters. “I appreciate the people coming out, putting up with me.”

“It was enormously generous of Calvin to do this for Old Friends,” said Blowen. “Racing needs more ambassadors like this.”

Blowen also added a special thanks to Blue Grass Tours, Ale-8-One, Wallace Station, and all the volunteers for their participation, and noted the the event helped raise several thousand dollars for the organization.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that is home to over 50 retired racehorses. It’s Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY is open to tourists daily by appointment. For more information on tours, reservations at the Old Friends B&B, or to make a donation, contact the farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at http://www.oldfriendsequine.org.

PHOTO: Equisport Photo. Calvin Borel and Michael Blowen tour Old Friends; Borel signs photos of Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra

(photo to be used free of charge only in conjunction with this press release)


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