Artist Creates Sculptures Honoring Spirit of Medina at Old Friends Farm

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX18) – A tree in front of Old Friends Farm is getting a makeover. A local artist breathes new life into the tree by turning it into a sculpture. The coin will pay homage to Medina Spirit, which faced controversy earlier this year but is now honored.

Artist Kiptoo Tarus is working on the sculpture that will pay homage to Medina Spirit.

Tarus says, “You know, it’s always a good challenge for me, and I always try to push myself to actualize myself.”

When Old Friends started nearly 20 years ago, its founder said the goal was to focus on tracking thoroughbreds, including memorials.

Old Friends chairman and founder Michael Blowen said, “We don’t want the focus to be on controversy or disqualification or whatever happened.”

The employees didn’t want to see such an old part of the land go. Supporters Bob and Jill Baffert stepped in to make this memorial possible. Medina Spirit means a lot to many Kentucky residents, including the founder of this farm. He says Medina Spirit is an example for everyone.

“He’s a great example for the rest of us. He was a tough little horse who fought all the time and sadly died too soon, but we think it’s a great memorial. The Zedan family have been very good with letting us bury him here, and we are honored to have Kiptoo make this great sculpture in his honor,” Blowen said.

Arborists estimate the carved sycamore at Old Friends to be around 100 years old. The artist says he felt it was his responsibility to give it new life.

“Otherwise it would have been dead, or cut down, or crushed. Now you are creating another space, another world for this tree. You know for me, it’s really powerful for me that you can have the ability to do,” said Tarus

Tarus creates this sculpture primarily using a series of chainsaws. When people pass by or visit this area, he hopes it creates new emotions in them.

“Every day you come in, and I think you always get something different every time – you know, and sometimes it just depends on your emotions at the time,” Tarus explains.

The artist began work on the sculpture honoring Medina Spirit earlier this week and hopes to complete the project by the end of the month.