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Cowboy Cal's Derby finish is special for McNairs


Texans CEO and founder Bob McNair spent the weekend cheering for some of the finest athletes in the world, his homebred horses Country Star, Raven's Pass and Cowboy Cal.

In the biggest race of them all, Cowboy Cal finished ninth Saturday in the 134th Kentucky Derby. The dark bay colt ran from the 17th post and entered the homestretch of Churchill Downs with a lead over unbeaten and heavily favored Big Brown. However, Big Brown did not allow that lead to last, bolting from the outside and sprinting to a first place finish.

Cowboy Cal, the son of Giant's Causeway, was the third homebred Stonerside Stable horse in the Run for the Roses. Congaree came in third in 2001, and Bob and John placed 17th in 2006.

On Friday, Stonerside's Country Star and Raven's Pass competed in two different classics.

Country Star, daughter of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker and Rings a Chime, finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks, the companion race to the Kentucky Derby.

In the Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, England's first classic race of the year, Raven's Pass finished fourth.

Last week, the McNair and his wife, Janice, announced that all proceeds from Cowboy Cal's earnings from the Derby would be donated to the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in memory of John Long.

It was John Long who gave the nickname "Cowboy Cal" to the McNairs' son Cal 34 years ago. John, the son of David and Mellie Long, was just three years old at the time and fighting cancer. Reverend and Mrs. Long had brought their son to Houston when their hometown doctor in Columbia, S.C. told them M. D. Anderson was the best place for John's treatment.

Reverend and Mrs. Long were guests of the McNairs at the Derby this year.

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