Desvio Earns ‘Retirement for Life’ at Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY. – May 18, 2024 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., is pleased to announce that with his win in Race 2 at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 18, 2024, Desvio earns “retirement for life” at Old Friends should he choose to use it when he is pensioned.

The 3-year old son of Yoshida (JPN)–Fitzrovia, by Uncle Mo, Desvio, who was ridden by Yomar Ortiz, came back from last place and scored a one-length win in the second running of the “Old Friends Purse” that benefited Old Friends and its “Old Friends for Life” retirement program.

“Old Friends remains grateful to 1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club, not only for making the Old Friends Purse possible, but for their solid and consistent support for Thoroughbred Aftercare,” said John Nicholson, President and CEO of Old Friends.

“It was a great day for Old Friends at Pimlico today, Nicholson continued. “The Old Friends Purse was a spirited and exciting race in front of thousands of racing fans. It was amazing to witness the overwhelming good will that is so apparent for Old Friends here at the Preakness.

“I was deeply gratified that the winner of the Old Friends Purse was Desvio, a beautiful gelding owned by the beloved and respected Bonnie family, who are special friends of mine as well as being longtime stalwarts of our sport.”

Should he be retired to Old Friends someday, Desvio will join three other “Old Friends For Life” retirees already living on the farm – Next Shares, Kalamos and Get Western – who used their automatic entry for lifetime retirement at Old Friends by winning the Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs.

Last year’s winner of the Old Friends Purse, the now 5-year old Be Better, is still racing and finished fifth in Friday’s, May 17, 2024, Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes.


Race Recap

On a cloudy morning, a field of 9 horses (the 10th, Midnight Award, was scratched) lined up for this year’s Old Friends Purse, a 1-1/16th-mile allowance race for 3-year olds and up on a turf course rated Soft.

Trained by Madison Meyers and owned by Stonlea Stables LLC. and Bonnie Rye Stable, 38.70-1 longshot, Desvio, ridden by Yomar Ortitz, broke from the far outside and settled into last place, while up front, Southern Lad, with Albert Delgado riding, took a commanding lead, Understudy Kitty, ridden by Jeiron Barbosa, was second, race favorite, Porquerolles, ridden by John Velazquez, was third, and St. John’s, ridden by Forest Boyce, was next to last.

As they moved into the first turn, Southern Lad remained in front, Understudy Kitty was second, Porquerolles was third, while St. John’s was eighth, and Desvio was still trailing behind him in ninth.

Heading down the backstretch and into the final turn, Southern Lad maintained his lead over Understudy Kitten in second and Porquerolles in third. In eighth, St. John’s had found a hole along the rail and was beginning to move forward, while Desvio was still last and running comfortably.

Turning for home, three horses were lined up together across the track at the top of the stretch – the leader, Southern Lad, was beginning to fade, with Understudy Kitty, in the middle of the three, and Porquerolles on his outside, getting ready to battle for the lead. Meanwhile, St. John’s had moved to the center of the track and was fourth, and Desvio, who had also found a hole, moved to the extreme outside and was seventh.

In the stretch, Understudy Kitty took a small lead over Porquerolles, who was coming up the rail in second and trying to catch him, while St. John’s was third and coming on fast, and Desvio, now on the extreme outside, was fourth and flying.

As they got closer to the finish line, St. John’s and Desvio took control of the race, with St. John’s getting a narrow lead on the inside over Desvio, Porquerolles was third on the rail, and Understudy Kitty fourth.

At the wire, Desvio got the win by a length over St. John’s, Porquerolles was third, and Understudy Kitty fourth. The winning time was 1:51.23.

Rounding out the field was Chelonian in fifth, Breakwater sixth, Southern Lad faded to seventh, Jolly by Golly eighth, and Rakia ninth.

For the win, Desvio paid $79.40, $24.00, and $7.40, while second-place finisher St. John’s paid $6.40 and $3.00, and third-place finisher Porquerolles paid $6.40.

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