Wines Give Racers A Second Chance

Retired thoroughbred racers given a second chance with limited-edition wines.

Retired thoroughbred racers given a second chance with limited-edition wines.

Kentucky is better known as horse country than Wine Country, but Chrisman Mill, a Lexington-area winery, is marrying the two worlds by partnering with a local non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement facility called Old Friends. Together, they have created the Old Friends Artist Signature Series of wines (including Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc and others). Each bottling features label art drawn by a celebrity, depicting a different retired or rescued horse at Old Friends and a portion of the proceeds ($8 per bottle) goes directly to the organization. Artists include Jack Nicholson, Albert Brooks (his work is seen at right), and Angie Dickinson.

Old Friends was created in 2003 by Michael Blowen, former film critic for the Boston Globe, and his wife, journalist and former Boston Globe columnist Diane White. Their farm, Dream Chase, gives 24 horses a chance for the dignified retirement that they deserve. "Each horse has its own story," says Blowen, who opened the facility in response to the untimely euthanasia of horses no longer able to race. Current residents are diverse: Some are retired U.S. Champion horses, others are rescues. Five were brought over from Japan.

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