Lexington, KY - The Kentucky Horse Park will host a book signing for "Standardbred Old Friends" with author Ellen Harvey on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, from 10 a.m.-noon. A collection of endearing stories on the lives of legendary Standardbred horses, this book is a collaboration with award-winning equine photographer Barbara Livingston, whose popular books "Old Friends" and "More Old Friends," painted a sentimental portrait of champion racehorses long gone from the spotlight.
Guests who purchase a copy of the book will receive half off admission to the park on Oct. 1 and the special all-Standardbred Hall of Champions Show at 1:15 p.m. organized for the occasion. A collection of Standardbred sulkies will also be put on display this day for guests to view, including a rare tandem sulky and a sulky used with Hall of Fame pacer Rambling Willie.
Guests may pre-order the book through the park's online gift shop, at www.kyhorsepark.com/shop, or at 859-259-4234, to ensure they have a copy, or to have a copy held for them if they are unable to attend the event. The first 50 books pre-ordered will also be signed by the book's photographer, Barbara Livingston. Books may be picked up anytime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12, or shipping can be arranged.
"Standardbred Old Friends" focuses on the distinctly American breed that evolved from a horse that carried the family to church, raced at the county fair and now competes world-wide at a trot and pace.
"Standardbred Old Friends" portrays 43 horses, ages 19 to 37, most of them millionaires with Hall of Fame membership, but some of more modest distinction - occupied as show horses, in law enforcement or as hardworking, blue-collar performers. With Harvey telling the rich tales of horses from Sweden to Southern California, from Maine to Florida, Livingston has captured images of horses whose achievements are now decades past, but whose memories will last a lifetime.
"Standardbred Old Friends" looks at the lives of horses like the Kentucky Horse Park's own champion Standardbred pacers, Staying Together and Western Dreamer. Staying Together was foaled in nearby Georgetown, and won 21 of 26 starts in Canada in 1993, setting a speed record, in one of harness racing's most memorable seasons. Stanley, as he is known, is now blind due to an incurable eye disease, but he has been able to adapt due to his own tenaciousness and his handlers' care of him.
Western Dreamer, or Dreamer, is the park's resident Triple Crown winner, winning pacing's Triple Crown in 1997 and becoming the first gelding of any breed to win a Triple Crown. Born just three miles from the Kentucky Horse Park, Dreamer is the son of Western Hanover, one of the most influential Standardbred sires in history.
Other Standardbred horses featured in the book include North American and European superstar Mack Lobell, now 30, at his home along the shores of Lake Malaren in southern Sweden, 2004 Horse of the Year Cam's Card Shark at historic Hanover Shoe Farm in central Pennsylvania, and mother-daughter Hall of Famers Country Kay Sue and CR Kay Suzie among the live oaks at their home in central Florida.
For a video sample of the photos in the book and a look at the making of "Standardbred Old Friends," featuring 30-year-old champion Standardbred roadster Autobahn at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p5-1VTyTzE&feature=youtube_gdata.
The Kentucky Horse Park is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 2. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children 7-12, and includes the Next Day Free. Children 6 and under are always admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the "Showplace for Saddlebreds" - The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 800,000 visitors and campers, as well as 18,400 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2013. The park is home to the National Horse Center, which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations. Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Information about the park's programs and activities can be found on-line at www.KyHorsePark.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.