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Published May 03, 2013, 08:53 AM

Williston Basin oilmen have horse in the Kentucky Derby

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Two Williston Basin oilmen say they expect Frac Daddy — the horse they have running in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday — to be a favorite of oil field workers everywhere.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Two Williston Basin oilmen say they expect Frac Daddy — the horse they have running in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday — to be a favorite of oil field workers everywhere.

Billings, Mont., residents Carter Stewart and Ken Schlenker own the 3-year-old thoroughbred whose name is a take on the oil drilling technique known as fracking.

"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," Stewart told The Forum newspaper. The Williston Basin spans the Dakotas and Montana, with about two-thirds of the acreage in western North Dakota.

Stewart, a petroleum geologist who spent the early part of his career in North Dakota, runs Stewart Geological Inc. and Cardinal Oil, an oil and gas operating company. He also is the largest shareholder of Mountainview Energy, a publicly traded oil and gas company that operates in the Williston Basin. Schlenker is an independent petroleum land man. Together the men own Magic City Thoroughbred Partners.

"Nobody's really paying any attention to us, but our trainer says our horse is doing excellent," Stewart said.

Bismarck attorney Lawrence Bender, who specializes in oil and gas law and is a longtime friend of Stewart, plans to travel to Churchill Downs in Louisville to cheer on Frac Daddy.

Bender said he and his wife follow the Derby every year and are excited to sit in an owner's suite with friends who have a horse competing for the $2 million first-place prize.

"I can't think of anything that could top that," Bender said.

Frac Daddy's odds of winning were posted at 50-1 on Friday, but Stewart said he is optimistic his horse can run for the roses.

"It's a horse race," he said. "Everybody's got a shot."

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