At the Races

Local ties, good causes spur on owner Fulton to his own victories

Local ties, good causes spur on owner Fulton to his own victories

May 14, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Stan Fulton, owner of Kentucky Derby entrant A.P. Warrior, was born in Cumberland, Md., in 1931 and resided in Hancock.

"I was born and raised and stayed in Maryland until taking residence in Las Vegas 31 years ago," said the 75-year-old thoroughbred owner before the Run for the Roses on May 6.

While living in Washington County, Fulton was involved with cable television companies and an oil business, as well as assisting his father at a family-run orchard.

"The family lived west of Hancock. He was probably born in Cumberland but then raised here," said former Hancock town manager Lou Close. "As a young man, he was involved in a lot of businesses and later got into the manufacturing of slot machines and other phases of the gaming industry. He has made a small fortune."


Close says Fulton, however, has not forgotten Hancock.

"He comes back every so often and he has really helped the community financially," Close said. "Over the years, he provided $50,000 for an elevator at the town hall, money for renovation of the toll house west of town, money toward a new gymnasium at the high school and money toward a youth center. I'm sure there were other things he was involved with. And he also gave some of his properties to folks in town."

Fulton and his family - who mostly live in Virginia and Maryland - were in attendance when the 3-year-old A.P. Warrior, with jockey Corey Nakatani aboard, finished a disappointing 18th in the 132nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

It was Fulton's first entry in the Run for the Roses. A.P. Warrior won't be entered in this Saturday's Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Fulton bought A.P. Warrior at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale for $1.3 million. Besides his interests in thoroughbreds, Fulton owns Sunland Park, the 44-year-old mixed-breed racetrack in New Mexico, near El Paso, Texas.

In 1999, Fulton used slot machines to bring back Sunland Park from the brink of closing. Sunland's thoroughbred purses were about $20,000 per day for an averaged of five races in the live racing season prior to the opening of the casino.

Since then, the purse structure has multiplied many times.

"We would not be where we are today without the slot machines," Fulton said.

Fulton has become a noted philanthropist, often supporting education.

He donated more than $6.2 million to build the Stan Fulton Building at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, which is home to the UNLV International Gaming Institute.

In 2001, he donated more than $2.2 million to New Mexico State's athletic department to help construct an academic support and sports medicine complex.

Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Fulton echoed the refrain of most horsemen in the race.

"I like my horse but racing luck is a big factor, especially with that many horses," Fulton said.

A.P. Warrior, who entered the Kentucky Derby with three wins, a place and a show, broke from the No. 10 post position but dropped behind the leaders quickly and was never a serious factor in the 1-mile race.

The trainer was John Shireffs, who saddled 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo.

Prado returns

Jockey Edgar Prado is coming "home" on Saturday.

The talented 39-year-old rider, who guided Barbaro to a convincing victory in the Kentucky Derby, will attempt to add the second leg of the Triple Crown to the list with the Preakness Stakes.

The return to Maryland and Baltimore brings back fond memories for Prado, where he spent several years dominating the jockey standings.

Prado was the nation's leading rider in races won for three straight years - 536 in 1997, 470 in 1998 and 402 in 1999 - and led Maryland riders in races won from 1991-93 and 1997-99.

He's looking forward to riding at the Pimlico.

"I love Maryland. I still have many friends there. They really helped me in my career," said an emotional Prado after his easy win at the Derby. "I'm always happy to ride in Maryland."

Especially if you're riding a horse like Barbaro.

The undefeated 3-year-old became the first thoroughbred in 50 years to win the Kentucky Derby coming off a five-week layoff, joining Needles. He also became the second horse since Seattle Slew in 1977 to enter the Preakness undefeated, following the path of Smarty Jones in 2004.

He has a good pilot in Prado, who has climbed the ladder of success in the horse racing industry.

While dominanting in Maryland, Prado decided to try the New York circuit in the early 2000s and has not missed a step. He generally competes at Belmont Park and Saratoga in the spring and summer and Gulfstream Park in Florida in the winter.

Last year, he posted a personal best purse earnings year with $18,615,366.

The native of Peru came to the United States in 1986 and was a contract rider for trainer Manuel Azpura. He won his first race on June 1, 1986 at Calder in Florida.

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