Akindale Farm gained national attention in 2008, when it became home to fan favorite Evening Attire. The folks at Akindale had long been committed to Thoroughbred aftercare; Akindale founder John Hettinger established Blue Horse Charities in 2001 to help fund Thoroughbred retirement, and the rescue part of the farm was founded in 2006.
But until Evening Attire’s arrival, Akindale was not known for accepting famous racehorses to live out their days on the farm in Pawling, New York; it was dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-training horses that could no longer race. Evening Attire was, when he arrived, a fortunate exception.
Since them, he’s been joined by a number of horses whose names will be familiar to racing fans: Hotstufanthensome, Sir Dunstan, Greeley’s Legacy all make their home at Akindale, living contentedly with each other, with no responsibilities other than to play nicely with each other.
Evening Attire shares a paddock with Remington and with his own half-brother, Tacticianor; the latter was found sick and injured at an auction last summer, and after treatment and rehabilitation, he joined his more famous sibling at Akindale. Erin Pfister, who runs the farm’s rescue division, continues to remark on how quickly Evening Attire took to his half-brother.
“It was just amazing,” she said when I recently visited. “It’s like he knew that they were related.”
The two grays share a paddock and regularly engage in a little sibling rivalry, pulling blankets and halters off each other; even as I approach, one of them (it’s impossible to tell from a distance who’s who) is nibbling on the other halter’s, clearly intent on a little equine mischief.
A third retiree, Remington, lives with them; he was Evening Attire’s first friend at the farm, and while Evening Attire is clearly the alpha horse, chasing the other horses when treats are offered, Remington, a gentle equine soul, stays off to the side, out of the fray, waiting until the coast is clear to approach.
Hotstufanthensome arrived in January, having gone from the track to New Vocations in Kentucky; pasture sound but not riding sound, he wasn’t suitable for re-training, and so, after a stakes-winning racing career, he gets to hang out on the farm with new his new buddy Greeley’s Legacy; their stalls are opposite each other and they are turned out together. Pfister remarks on how Hotstuf’s arrival has enlivened Greeley’s Legacy. “He’s so much happier now,” she observed. “They love each other.”
Greeley’s Legacy raced until age 7, making his last start at Belmont last fall, finishing …. He was a horse for whom his connections had high hopes: he raced in the 2006 Gotham, Coolmore Lexington, Wood Memorial, and Preakness, generally finishing in the middle of the pack. He made 35 starts and won four, with eight seconds and five thirds, earning more than $250,000.
Hotstuf is bossy and demanding; standing in the shedrow, he’s so importunate in his quest for peppermints that Pfister has to lean her whole body into him to try to get him to behave. She’s sort of successful, but he won’t stand still long enough for a non-blurry photo to be taken.
Greeley’s Legacy is much more patient; he acts grateful instead of entitled when he’s offered a mint and affection. It’s not hard to tell which of these horses will be the boss when they’re out in their paddock together.
Horses whose names are less well-known than these share quarters at Akindale, and we’ll be back in a few days to look at those…including one whose performance on Belmont Day 2006 ensured that the Backstretch family wouldn’t soon forget his name.
Past performance information courtesy of Daily Racing Form.