Diversify to spend retirement at Old Friends Equine

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Coglianese Photos

(Courtesy NYRA Communications)

Ralph and Lauren Evans’ recently retired two-time Grade 1 winning New York-bred Diversify is on his way to Old Friends Equine, a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited facility in Kentucky.

Originally trained by the late Rick Violette, Jr., who died in October 2018, Diversify was transferred to the care of Jonathan Thomas to prepare for his 2019 campaign. After incurring a suspensory injury earlier this month, the decision was made to retire the $1.9 million earner.

Old Friends was created in 2003 by Michael Blowen, a former movie critic for the Boston Globe and lifelong racing fan, who oversees the farm in Georgetown, Kentucky where fans are welcome to interact and visit with retired stars of racing.

“Michael Blowen and Mr. Evans got together and the decision was made for him to go to Old Friends and live out his life in the spotlight,” said Thomas. “It’s a tremendous facility and Mr. Blowen has done incredible things with allowing fans to have access to these star horses. I think it’s also really good for the horses. Diversify is a horse that loves attention and being acknowledged. This is the beginning of a new story for him.”

Old Friends also has a facility in Cabin Creek, in Greenfield Center in upstate New York, which is home to a number of retired New York stars including 1996 Travers winner Will’s Way.

Blowen said he is hoping to launch a second New York facility soon within ten minutes of downtown Saratoga Springs, which could be headlined by Diversify who was a wire-to-wire winner of the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney Handicap last year at Saratoga Race Course.

“If we can get the money together, I would like to name the location after Rick Violette the way we named the farm in Greenfield Center at Cabin Creek after Bobby Frankel. Rick and I used to talk about aftercare all the time and he was an avid supporter of looking after horses when they were done racing. It would be an honor to name the new place after him,” said Blowen. “We already have King Kreesa, Lubash and Kharafa and of course Commentator. We have all these great New York-breds and it will be so great to show them off.”

Diversify, voted the 2018 New York-bred Horse of the Year, will leave for Kentucky on Thursday afternoon.

“If I can’t get a horse to the racetrack healthy and sound, my ultimate job is to make sure that the horse retires sound and can go live out his life the right way,” said Thomas. “This game is cool for a lot of reasons but the fact that someone is doing this kind of thing with these horses is awesome. In what other sport can you go and shake hands with the stars?”

For more information on Old Friends, visit

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