Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY., announced the passing of two of its most beloved retirees this morning.
Multiple graded stakes winner Tour of the Cat, 20, died suddenly at the Old Friends satellite facility at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky. The cause of death was diaphragmatic hernia with entrapped intestine.
Ohio-bred millionaire Catlaunch, 17, was euthanized due to chronic neurologic disease.
Tour of the Cat, a Florida bred gelding, was a multiple graded-stakes winner of more than $1.1 million. Among his greatest victories were the GR2 Richter Scale Sprint Handicap, the GR3 Spend a Buck Handicap, and the GR3 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap.
After a prestigious career, he was found racing at bottom level claiming races at age 11. Concerned owner Maggi Moss claimed him in order to retire him at Old Friends in 2009.
The son of Noble Cat out of the Relaunch mare Skilaunch, Catlaunch was campaigned by Ron Fields of Scioto Farm Supply and was trained by Ivan Vazquez. The gelding won a remarkable 40 of his 108 starts, including 22 stakes, and earned more than $1.1 million.
He was long a fan favorite at Thistledown, River Downs, and Beulah Park, before retiring to Old Friends in 2013.
“While it has been an exciting week in racing, as the industry crowned a new Kentucky Derby champion, it's been a sad week of loss here,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “We were so proud to have had both of these wonderful horses with us, and proud to be able to give them the dignified retirement they earned and so richly deserved.
“I want to thank everyone at Kentucky Downs, including our farm manager there, Jennifer Jones, for taking such good care of Tour of the Cat,” Blowen continued. “He was one of the most popular retirees on their tour there, and he met many fans over the years.
“Catlaunch, with his warm personality and good looks, was a favorite among all of our volunteers and farm staff. Both of these guys will be deeply missed.”
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