Fasig-Tipton, through its subsidiary Blue Horse Charities, has donated $50,000 toward rebuilding the quarantine/hospital barn at Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement center in Scott County. The barn was destroyed by fire Jan. 24.
The structure will be named after John Hettinger, a longtime advocate for retired racehorses. No horses or humans were injured in the fire. Hettinger died in 2010 at age 74.
“Blue Horse Charities was conceived and created by John Hettinger during the time of his family’s ownership of the company,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said in a news release. “We are delighted that Old Friends will name the new barn in John’s honor.”
Alphabet Soup, winner of the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Archie’s Echo were safely evacuated from the barn unharmed.
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Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen said the new hospital barn will be fire-safe, and the larger, main barn on the organization’s property will be updated and fireproofed.
“John Hettinger’s commitment to caring for Thoroughbreds in retirement was unparalleled,” Blowen said. “I remember many years ago, sitting on John’s porch in Saratoga (N.Y.), discussing what we needed to do to protect these retired racehorses. I think he would have loved Old Friends as much as we love him. Blue Horse’s $50,000 donation is like hitting the Pick 6 without even buying a ticket!”
Old Friends is a retirement sanctuary for more than 150 Thoroughbreds, including dual classic winners Silver Charm and War Emblem and multiple Grade I winner Game On Dude.