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Jerry Crawford Named DRF Breeder of the Week

July 15, 2014

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Article via DRF Breeding Today Newsletter, July 15, 2014. Photo credit: Margaret Burlingham

Owner-breeder Jerry Crawford returned to the graded stakes winner’s circle this past weekend when hard-trying Finnegans Wake posted a head win in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, the precursor to next month’s Grade 1 Arlington Million at the suburban Chicago track.

Crawford, a 64-year-old Iowa native, rose to industry prominence six years ago via his ownership group Donegal Racing, which campaigned such notables as Paddy O’ Prado and Dullahan. Finnegans Wake, a 5-year-old son of Arlington Million winner Powerscourt, surfaced as a graded stakes-caliber horse in 2012, placing in both the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington and the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.

Finnegans Wake continued to perform respectably in major graded stakes last year, with his best finish a second in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap, but finally broke through with his first graded win last Saturday with a gritty score over Admiral Kitten in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Handicap, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. Dale Romans, who trains the majority of Donegal Racing’s horses, said following the Arlington Handicap that Finnegans Wake could resurface in the Arlington Million on Aug. 16 at the same distance. He finished fourth in last year’s Million.

Crawford bred Finnegans Wake in Kentucky. The horse is out of the stakes-placed Silver Ghost mare Boat’s Ghost, who has produced two other winners, Nevsky, by Majestic Warrior, and Squall King, a full brother to Finnegans Wake. Crawford bred both siblings, and campaigns Squall King. Meanwhile, Nevsky has won back-to-back races for John Grossi’s Racing Corp partnership.

Donegal Stable has purchased most of the top runners on its roster. They share in common clever Irish-inspired names, taking after the partnership’s own moniker, which derives from the Irish county of origin for Crawford’s family. In addition to stable stars Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan, Donegal currently campaigns Cleburne, who won last year’s Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes; O’Prado Ole, runner-up in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes one race after Finnegans Wake’s win at Arling­ton; and Irish You Well, winner of the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 5 and a possible starter in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 27. Among Donegal’s group of 2-year-olds making their way to U.S. racetracks this summer is the unraced Big Brown filly Puca, a half-sister to Finnegans Wake. Puca was bred by Crawford and Paul Pompa Jr. and is currently training at Saratoga.

Crawford is a nationally-recognized attorney operating out of the Crawford & Mauro firm in Des Moines. A former managing owner of the NBA Developmen­tal League’s Iowa Energy, Crawford has also been a major supporter of and contrib­utor to the Democratic Party for decades.

Owner-breeder Jerry Crawford returned to the graded stakes winner’s circle this past weekend when hard-trying Finnegans Wake posted a head win in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, the precursor to next month’s Grade 1 Arlington Million at the suburban Chicago track.

Crawford, a 64-year-old Iowa native, rose to industry prominence six years ago via his ownership group Donegal Racing, which campaigned such notables as Paddy O’ Prado and Dullahan. Finnegans Wake, a 5-year-old son of Arlington Million winner Powerscourt, surfaced as a graded stakes-caliber horse in 2012, placing in both the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington and the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.

Finnegans Wake continued to perform respectably in major graded stakes last year, with his best finish a second in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap, but finally broke through with his first graded win last Saturday with a gritty score over Admiral Kitten in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Handicap, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. Dale Romans, who trains the majority of Donegal Racing’s horses, said following the Arlington Handicap that Finnegans Wake could resurface in the Arlington Million on Aug. 16 at the same distance. He finished fourth in last year’s Million.

Crawford bred Finnegans Wake in Kentucky. The horse is out of the stakes-placed Silver Ghost mare Boat’s Ghost, who has produced two other winners, Nevsky, by Majestic Warrior, and Squall King, a full brother to Finnegans Wake. Crawford bred both siblings, and campaigns Squall King. Meanwhile, Nevsky has won back-to-back races for John Grossi’s Racing Corp partnership.

Donegal Stable has purchased most of the top runners on its roster. They share in common clever Irish-inspired names, taking after the partnership’s own moniker, which derives from the Irish county of origin for Crawford’s family. In addition to stable stars Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan, Donegal currently campaigns Cleburne, who won last year’s Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes; O’Prado Ole, runner-up in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes one race after Finnegans Wake’s win at Arling­ton; and Irish You Well, winner of the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 5 and a possible starter in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 27. Among Donegal’s group of 2-year-olds making their way to U.S. racetracks this summer is the unraced Big Brown filly Puca, a half-sister to Finnegans Wake. Puca was bred by Crawford and Paul Pompa Jr. and is currently training at Saratoga.

Crawford is a nationally-recognized attorney operating out of the Crawford & Mauro firm in Des Moines. A former managing owner of the NBA Developmen­tal League’s Iowa Energy, Crawford has also been a major supporter of and contrib­utor to the Democratic Party for decades.

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