•Silver Charm Pensioned, Returning to Kentucky, 10/29•
Silver Charm, winner of the 1997 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) who has been in Japan since 2005, will return home and be retired to Old Friends near Georgetown, Ky. The 20-year-old son of Silver Buck—Bonnie's Poker, by Poker, is expected to be back in Kentucky by late November.
Bred by Mary Lou Wooton, Silver Charm raced for Bob and Beverly Lewis and was trained by Bob Baffert. While he lost his bid for the Triple Crown when passed by Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Silver Charm was named champion 3-year-old male of 1997. At 4 he won the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) and was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He won 12 of 24 starts and earned $6,944,369.
He was retired to stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Central Kentucky and stood for five seasons before moving to the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station prior to the 2005 breeding season.
"It's totally unbelievable," said Michael Blowen of Old Friends about his newest addition. "A few days ago I got a call from Sandy Hatfield over at Three Chimneys and she said, 'Do you have room over there for a gray stallion that needs a home?' And I freaked out.
"I wasn't privy to all the negotiations but I've been e-mailing back and forth with Jeff Lewis for years about this," Blowen said. "It's a great story of cooperation among Three Chimneys, the JBBA, the Lewises, and then finally to us. We get to reap all the benefits because he's going to live here. It's funny, within a matter of weeks we end up with probably the two best horses Bob Baffert ever trained."
The Baffert-trained Game On Dude, a multiple grade I-winning gelding, joined the team at Old Friends earlier this month.
"We thought the best thing for a horse of his stature was to let him live out his retirement years at Old Friends, a place that will provide him the opportunity to receive his many fans, said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys. "I'd like to thank the JBBA for their excellent care of Silver Charm throughout the past 10 years and the Lewises for everything they are doing for Silver Charm."
Three Chimneys Farm is offering a small donation to Old Friends for their magnanimous gesture to make this horse available to his fans.
"The JBBA has been terrific...it's not going to cost Old Friends a penny," Blowen said. "When Sandy called it was a fait accompli."
Bonnie's Poker was a resident of Old Friends and is buried at the farm.