Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility based in Georgetown, KY, wishes to clarify an unauthorized press release issued yesterday announcing the affiliate “Old Friends West”.
According to Blowen, no official agreement has been made with Elizabeth Neil or Doug Freeland to open a West Coast-based Thoroughbred retirement facility.
Mr. Blowen has exchanged emails with Ms Neil and Mr. Freeland, and was interested in further discussion of the idea, however no formal proposal has been made and no steps taken to complete the venture as soon as March 2019.
“I believe an affiliate on the West Coast is an excellent idea. California is a huge racing hub, and Thoroughbreds bred and campaigned there deserve a dignified retirement in their home state where their fans are,” said Blowen. “However, while we have been in very preliminary discussions, no final agreement has been met, and this press release is premature,” he added. “At Old Friends we don't like to put the cart before the horse–in fact, we don't like to put anything before the horse!
“I have offered to consult on the formation of a West Coast farm, but I also explained to Mr. Freeland that many steps that would need to be taken before earning an affiliation with Old Friends,” Blowen continued. “We would only get involved with an existing 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, a visual inspection of the new facility and interviews with their planned farm personnel are mandatory, and, most importantly, a formal presentation would need to be made to the Old Friends Board of Directors and approval achieved. At this time we have not moved forward with any of these phases,
“We also would have to consider our Accreditation with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance,” Blowen noted,”and any new facility would need to be approved.
Blowen did say the Mr Freeland is schedule to visit Old Friends in Georgetown next week.
“This is not something that happens overnight,” Blowen said. “We have painstakingly built our brand over the years, and we guard it fiercely. It has taken more than 15 years for Old Friends to reach its existing place in the aftercare community and we're very proud of our position.”
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