03/23/2011 2:18PM

Louisiana Derby favorite's minority owner goes 12 hours nonstop to reach Fair Grounds

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Risen Star, will be the favorite for the Louisiana Derby.

NEW ORLEANS -- Mucho Macho Man, the favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby, was scheduled to arrive here at Fair Grounds shortly after noon on Wednesday. His co-owner was here earlier. A lot earlier.

James Culver, the president of the Dream Team Racing Stable syndicate that has a 30-percent interest in Mucho Macho Man, left his home in Hickory, N.C., on Tuesday night and just kept going and going and going, much like Mucho Macho Man in last month’s Risen Star Stakes.

“It took me about 12 hours,” Culver said in the Fair Grounds stable area Wednesday morning, fresh from a nap in his car. “It’s exciting. I had thought I’d stop at a hotel along the way, but it got to midnight and I just kept going. I got here about 5, but because of the time change it was 4. So I slept in my car for a couple hours.”

Dream Team was the original owner of Mucho Macho Man, but the partnership sold a majority interest in the colt to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing following his debut last summer.

Being as Hickory is known more for furniture than horses, and North Carolina has no parimutuel wagering, how did Culver end up there?

“I lived in Nassau County, near Belmont Park. That’s where I got addicted to this,” he said. “But we wanted to avoid the winters, so we headed someplace south.”