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Changes for the Good -- Atlanta Summer Week II

Harrodsburg, KY--May 8, 2008--Bob Bell, president of the Classic Company and host of the Atlanta Summer Classics at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA, is one who believes "change can be for the greater good."

Bell said this in reference to the 4th Annual Horses Helping Horses charity event that will take place during the June AA rated Hunter-Jumper series. He went on to share the change in scheduling for the Outback Steakhouse dinner, the Silent Auction, and to announce the addition of a special Trainers Medal Classic. These special events will take place on Friday June 27th in the covered arena beginning at 6PM.

"In the past years we've held the various elements, the silent auction and charity dinner, at different locations of the park and often times it's difficult for everyone to enjoy these special happenings when their show day runs long," said Bell. "So this year we decided to have one spectacular evening in one location for all who wish to participate!"

Horses Helping Horses, which benefits Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has grown from it's single grand prix 4 years ago into a weekend of fun and a unique way of giving support to the horses in need. Once again Outback Steakhouse is donating upwards of 400 delicious dinners for the event so that 100 percent of every ticket sold will go to Old Friends.

"Considering the rising costs of eating out these days this makes for a wonderful change. Folks can have a great meal for less and it pays for several horses to eat for almost a month!" Bell exclaimed.

Horses Helping Horses co-chair Cynthia Grisolia added, "Even if you aren't attending, buying a ticket won't be a waste! It becomes a simple and inexpensive way to make a donation."

Tickets run $25.00 per person and can be purchased in advance by contacting Becky Miles at 770-962-3011 or Cindy Grisolia and Robbi Meisel at Flashpoint Media Services. In Conyers tickets can be purchased at the horse show office. Early reservations are suggested, as this popular event will sell out quickly.

And for the savvy shoppers, Friday evening will also host the Old Friends Silent Auction offering an array of goods and even collectibles. Past auction items have included fine jewelry, rare artwork, tack, barn supplies, jumps, clothing, even Hollywood and racing memorabilia. Each year the number of items seems to get bigger and better. This year's auction expects to be one of the best to date. The auction will run concurrent with the dinner and winning bids will be decided at the end of the evening.

But what's dinner and shopping without a little entertainment? Well, Horses Helping Horses has that covered too! While dining, spectators will be treated to the always-amusing antics of a Trainers Medal Classic featuring their favorite trainers exhibiting their best equitation to impress a panel of judges. While the course and scoring are typically normal, often times competitors called back for "testing" have been requested to perform some interesting tasks, such as singing a few bars of their favorite song. It's all at the judges' discretion so one never knows what to expect, but can count on some laughs.

"This is always a popular class so we thought what better night to do it on!" Bell said. "This year we'll be including a special surprise guest with an unusual background, but that's all I can say about him right now," he concluded with a mischievous grin. The Classic will present a total of $2500 in cash prizes as well as ribbons and some special tokens of appreciation from Old Friends.

While on the subject of the Trainers Medal, it's a known fact there is no entry fee to participate in this event, but one well-respected trainer is issuing his own challenge to fellow competitors. Daniel Geitner, owner of the Aiken, SC based DFG Stables, is suggesting that trainers donate the equivalent of an entry fee, around $40.00, to the "Ride with Old Friends," aka Trainers Medal.

Geitner has been a devout lover of Thoroughbreds all his life, even has a small up and coming stable of racers that are his passion when away from the hunter jumper world, but believes the two sports can and should help one another. "With all that's happening to horses these days -- accidents, slaughter laws, and such I just feel it's every horse owner... no, every horse lovers time to step up and help out. It doesn't have to be a million dollar contribution - even one dollar each can add up and make a real difference," said Geitner.

The giving spirit continues on Saturday evening with the $25,000 Horses Helping Horses Grand Prix sponsored by Outback Steakhouse. This event hosts many international athletes all vying for the top spot and is held under the stars and lights of the former Olympic arena beginning at 6PM. Proceeds from this event are also donated to Old Friends.

Bob Bell wrapped up by saying, "This [Horses Helping Horses] has become a truly meaningful event to all involved and I feel great knowing the biggest winners are the horses each year. This is one check I never mind writing out!"

Home to more stakes winners than any farm in the Bluegrass, Old Friends is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing a dignified retirement to Thoroughbreds when their racing and breeding careers are over. The farm is open to the public and offers tours daily by appointment. Call 502-863-1775.

For more information on the Atlanta Summer Classics please visit http://www.ClassicCompany.com or call the office at 843-768-5503. To learn more about Old Friends Retirement Facility and their special mission please visit http://www.OldFriendsEquine.com.

 

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