Kentucky Derby runner has Macalester connections

By April DeJarlais

Tomorrow Macalester students will have Springfest and finals on their minds, but can hopefully spare some time to cheer on a horse in the Kentucky Derby racing valiantly for Macalester. Paddy O’Prado, one of the 22 horses in the Derby, is owned by Iowa-based Donegal Racing, a 10-member partnership founded in 2008 by Macalester’s Board of Trustees vice chairman Jerry Crawford ’71. The reason Macalester students should be cheering? Crawford will be donating his portion of the race winnings to the school.

The overall bets for last year’s Derby amounted to $2,177,200 and the top five placements receive a share.

Crawford has been involved in horseracing since 1975, the Gazette Online reported. He credits O’Prado with giving him the opportunity to “marry” his passions of Macalester and horseracing. Crawford, as an acknowledgement to possible Macalester community concerns, assured that the horse is “treated in the best possible way.”

“We take our obligation to humane treatment seriously,” he said.

The horse qualified for the Derby by accruing $250,950 in graded earnings, and has been performing well in recent races, including a first placement in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in Florida. He is not one of the favorites to win the Derby, but Crawford said the horse is receiving public attention for running well in workouts leading up to the critical race.

“We think Paddy O’Prado is on top of his game,” Crawford said in a phone interview. “I expect he’ll be flying as high as some of the Macalester students at Springfest.”

President Brian Rosenberg and his wife Dr. Carol Rosenberg will be attending the Derby in Louisville, Kentucky with Crawford, who claims he will be sporting a “lucky” Macalester-inspired orange and blue tie.

So if Macalester students feel like workhorses this weekend in anticipation of the end of the year, they can gain encouragement from the horse that worked his way to glory and could also pay for their educations.