Guest Blog: An Old Fashioned Kind of Party

With new 3-year-old stars emerging every week as we get ready to wind down the 2010 Triple Crown trail, let's take a quick look back at a popular star from last year--Old Fashioned. If I recall correctly, he was a colt that many regular contributors of this blog were very fond of. I was among those that were disappointed when his career came to an unexpected end in the Arkansas Derby.

Courtesy of my colleague Esther Marr, here is a quick look back at Old Fashioned.


At the end of a long, grueling first session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale Jan. 11, Taylor Made Sales Agency hosted a memorable event at Sal's Chop House in Lexington to honor a stallion who will be new to their roster this year--Old Fashioned.

While sipping old fashioned cocktails and nibbling appetizers, attendees were reminded through video clips of how the son of Unbridled's Song had burst onto the 2009 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) scene with victories in the Remsen and Southwest, and won over a good portion of the general public as an early favorite.

But to the dismay of many, Old Fashioned was pulled from the Derby trail--and from his racing career--in mid-April after undergoing surgery to try and repair a non-displaced slab fracture of his right knee, which he sustained in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).

While Old Fashioned won't race again, trainer Larry Jones and horseman Rob Whiteley were on hand to remind breeders of the strengths the gray or roan 4-year-old could bring to the gene pool.

"I never expected to get to train a horse like this," said Jones, who saddled Old Fashioned in his six lifetime starts. "When he came to me as a 2-year-old, it was about two weeks after the 2008 Kentucky Derby (when his charge Eight Belles suffered a catastrophic breakdown), and you all know where our life was at that point. But Old Fashioned was the one that kept us focused and kept us going.

"When I would gallop this horse when he was young, he never got enough training, and I knew he was going to be a classic distance kind of horse. In the Remsen, to come home in a 1 1/8-mile race as a 2-year-old in :36 flat for the last three-eighths without asking, there was no doubt in my mind that Old Fashioned was going to win the Kentucky Derby.

"It's a shame his career was cut short...this was truly a phenomenal horse, and I've spoken with several of the people I train for that are breeders, and every one of them are going to be breeding to Old Fashioned. This was a fine, extremely talented horse."

Rob Whiteley, who has bought a couple shares in Old Fashioned with his partner Jim Robinson of Brandywine Farm, explained why he was particularly impressed by the horse from the perspective of a handicapper.

"Over my now-long career, I've probably watched 10,000 races," said Whiteley, founder of Liberation Farm. "Every once in awhile, a horse comes along that catches my fancy as a handicapper, and Old Fashioned was one of those horses. As he progressed in his career, with his tactical speed going to the front, and rating the way that he did, he knew what it was all about.

"As a breeder, I like to produce medium-sized, athletic, well-balanced horses, with good minds, that have some tactical speed that can carry it further than a sprint distance," Whiteley continued. "The horse that comes closest to the profile I have in my mind when I do my matings that I've been lucky enough to produce is El Corredor. Old Fashioned also reminds me very much of the kind I try and produce. I'm somebody that also breeds type to type, so I'll be looking for mares that fit that profile and can match up with (Old Fashioned) and produce the type that he is, because I think he's exceptional."

Old Fashioned, who raced for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms and is out of the Meadowlake mare Collect Call, finished with a record of 4-2-0 from six starts and earnings of $583,280.

By Esther Marr

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