There’s a Horse in the Kentucky Derby That’s Named After Fracking

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 3 2013 3:17 PM

There’s a Horse in the Kentucky Derby That’s Named After Fracking

Frac Daddy will try to blast his way through the Kentucky Derby field.
Frac Daddy will try to blast his way through the Kentucky Derby field.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Want to bet big on fossil fuels? Plunk down some money on Frac Daddy in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

The colt is owned by a pair of Montana oilmen, Carter Stewart and Ken Schlenker. They told Forum News Service that the name was a natural choice, since the horse’s sire was named “Scat Daddy.” They’re pitching it as “a tribute to the oil field workers of America,” particularly those involved in fracking.

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The owners have made their fortunes in the Williston Basin, which has seen a boom in oil production thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing technology. Whether the name fuels interest from bettors remains to be seen. Frac Daddy was posted as a 50-to-1 longshot as of Friday morning. Among the factors in the colt's favor, Louisville Courier-Journal turf writer Jennie Rees notes that he has run well at Churchill Downs in the past. The main drawback: “He’s too slow.”

Thoroughbred names are supposed to avoid political controversy, along with obscenity and poor taste. But as T.D. Thornton explained in Slate in 2007, plenty of edgy monikers have slipped through the cracks over the years. And while Frac Daddy may raise the hackles of a few environmentalists, it’s certainly no more pungent than “Hoof Hearted.” Regardless, greens will be watching closely to see if the horse’s grooms clean up after it or just leave its waste products to fester in the open air.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

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