Dancin’ Renee, the 1997 New York Horse of the Year, and Racketeer, the hard-knocking progeny of Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, who earned more than $400,000 in his lengthy track career, have retired at Old Friends in Kentucky.
Both horses arrived this month at the Georgetown facility for pensioned ex-racehorses, founded by Michael Blowen.
Dancin’ Renee arrived Sept. 14, after earning her place in the sun during a valiant career that garnered 14 wins in 21 starts.
Among her career highlights, the mare won seven consecutive races in 1997, including the GR3 Honorable Miss at Saratoga, the Broadway Handicap at Aqueduct, and the Monmouth Park Regret Stakes. All tolled, she earned $490,258, according to a press release from Old Friends.
In that same year, she was crowned New York’s Horse of the Year, as well as Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Female by New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
Now 20, the mare also served as a prodigious broodmare of several winners, including Limehouse and Risky Rachel.
Donated by her owner-breeder, Dancin’ Renee arrived at Old Friends from New York on Friday, September 14.
In accepting Dancin’ Renee into his growing herd of retired racehorses, Blowen says he was thrilled to make room for the impressive mare.
“We have a lot of horses on our waiting list but I made the decision to take Dancin’ Renee because she was a remarkable athlete, ” said Blowen. “She has already bonded with another great mare, one-time world-record holder Klassy Briefcase, and I’m just overjoyed.”
Sanford Bacon, the mare’s owner, says he was so impressed with Blowen’s operation that he made no secret of his desire to retire his grand mare there.
“I met Michael Blowen at a happening in Saratoga,” Bacon says in a press release. “I said at the time, ‘this looks like a wonderful program. I would hopefully like to send Dancin’ Renee there.’ ”
And right on her heels came ex-racehorse Racketeer.
The racehorse, described in a press release by Adena Springs Farm, as a “gritty gelding,” competed in more than a dozen graded stakes races throughout a career spanning seven different tracks.
Bred by Adena Springs, the seasoned campaigner is the son of famous sire Awesome Again, and was trained in his early career by Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, the press release stated.
After a successful seven-year run, which garnered more than $400,000, Racketeer raced one more time in September 2011 at Fairplex Park, and then dropped off the radar.
He was not heard of again until he was discovered in a California feedlot by Jenny Earhart, of Royal Star Ranch. At which point, California horse rescue Neigh Savers and a representative from Adena Springs helped rescue him, according to the press release, and had him returned to Adena Springs, his breeder.
“When he got back to Adena he recuperated, put on weight, and has been just fantastic,” said Adena General Manager Eric Hamelback in a press release.
“He has such a wonderful attitude, and he’s the epitome of what people want in a Thoroughbred. He’s sound, strong and raced at the highest level.”
Hamelback next contacted Blowen, a good friend, and secured a retirement home for Racketeer at Old Friends.
As with Dancin’ Renee, Blowen was thrilled to make room for a great horse in his time of need.
Says Blowen, “I remember Racketeer in his prime running against horses like Arson Squad and Bob and John.
Noting that he has always had a great relationship with Adena Springs and its owners, the Stronarch family, Blowen says the farm has always been great to Old Friends, and making room for Racketeer was something he was happy to do.
“When Racketeer got here earlier in the week he looked phenomenal. He’s going to be a great addition to our tours.”