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Old Friends - Thoroughbred Retirement

Dual-Classic Winner War Emblem to Old Friends

War Emblem
War Emblem - Photo courtesy Thomas Allen Pauly
GEORGETOWN, KY - JULY 21, 2015 - Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY, will welcome its second Kentucky Derby winner this fall when War Emblem, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, will return to the Bluegrass from Japan.

In 2014 Old Friends, along with the Lewis Family and Three Chimneys Farm, re-patriated and retired 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm.

Bred by Charles Nuckols Jr. & Sons of Midway, KY, War Emblem (Our Emblem - Sweetest Lady, Lord at War), proved his mettle as a three-year-old when he captured the Illinois Derby in an impressive gate-to-wire victory.

The win earned him the attention of the late Prince Ahmed bin Salman of the Thoroughbred Corporation who bought the lightning-quick colt from owner Russell L. Reinman for a reported $900,000 and gave him to trainer Bob Baffert--a move that paid off three weeks later when War Emblem captured the 128th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Following a win in the Preakness, War Emblem became a serious contender to capture history's 12th Triple Crown, but he stumbled badly at the start of the Belmont Stakes and ended up beaten by long-shot Sarava, who, as fate would have it, is now also a retiree at Old Friends.

War Emblem went on to capture the Haskell Invitational for a third Grade I win that year and retired with 13 starts, 7 wins and earnings of $3,491,000.

In the fall of 2002 War Emblem was sold to the Yoshida family of Japan for $17 million to stand at their renowned Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, which also stood the great Sunday Silence. War Emblem proved a finicky but talented stallion, having sired less than 200 foals in his career but many of them talented runners, including Japan's champion 2-year-old filly and Group I winner Robe Tissage.

War Emblem was retired from stud duty earlier this year and the Yoshida family generously agreed to donate the stallion to Old Friends. Negotiations have been coordinated by Narvick International's Emmanual de Seroux.

"It's just an embarrassment of riches," said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. "It has been mind-blowing to have one Kentucky Derby winner here, and now we are just thrilled and honored to also be able to retire War Emblem. We can't thank the Yoshida family enough for entrusting us with their fabulous horse."

Plans call for the stallion to be shipped in late September. Arrival times will be announced when they are confirmed.

For more information contact Old Friends at (502) 863-1775.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 150 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, N.Y., Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at

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