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Kentucky Derby longshot horse carries Big Oil banner

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He’s the Sierra Club’s least favorite horse in this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

For more evidence that fracking has found a permanent place in American pop culture, look no further than Saturday’s 139th Kentucky Derby, where a 3-year-old gray colt named Frac Daddy will unofficially represent the oil and gas industry in the iconic event.

“We’ve got a huge fan base because we’ve made him a tribute to all the oil field workers in America and especially the Williston Basin,” petroleum geologist Carter Stewart, co-owner of the 50-to-1 shot to win the Derby, told the North Dakota news website inforum.com. The oil-rich Williston Basin underlies parts of the Dakotas and Montana.

Mr. Stewart and Ken Schlenker, both Montana oilmen who together own 13 thoroughbreds, are optimistic Frac Daddy — who has also inspired his own beer at Billings-area bars — will prevail.

“On any given day, anything can happen in this business,” Mr. Stewart said told the Billings Gazette. “It seems to be evenly matched, and the type of race where a long shot can come out of it.”

Named for the controversial drilling technique that’s sparked an American oil and natural gas renaissance, Frac Daddy has made six career starts, including one first-place finish.

The emergence of fracking — short for hydraulic fracturing — has had a ripple effect beyond the energy world. The term has found its way into the lyrics of Rolling Stones’ songs and has been the subject of the Matt Damon film “Promised Land.”

By finding its way to the Kentucky Derby, expected to draw more than 160,000 spectators this year and have millions more glued to their TVs, fracking has for the first time found a place in the national sports arena.

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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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