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Article updated: 5/3/2013 10:16 AM

Horse saved from slaughter wins big at Hawthorne

Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, is walked on the track after winning a race by 9 3/4 lengths during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero. The 3-year-old gelding whose name means “great luck” was the longest of long shots when he won the race. His mother, Lulu, was purchased for $300 at a slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center. Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.

Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, is walked on the track after winning a race by 9 3/4 lengths during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero. The 3-year-old gelding whose name means "great luck" was the longest of long shots when he won the race. His mother, Lulu, was purchased for $300 at a slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center. Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.

 

Associated Press/Four Footed Fotos

Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, rides to a 9 3/4-length win during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero. The 3-year-old gelding whose name means “great luck” was the longest of long shots when he won a recent race. His mother, Lulu, was purchased for $300 at a slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center. Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.

Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, rides to a 9 3/4-length win during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero. The 3-year-old gelding whose name means "great luck" was the longest of long shots when he won a recent race. His mother, Lulu, was purchased for $300 at a slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center. Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.

 

Associated Press/Four Footed Fotos

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By Associated Press

He may never run for the Kentucky Derby roses, but Illinois racehorse Magna Fortuna and his owners are celebrating a victory none-the-less -- his survival.

The 3-year-old gelding's name means "great luck," and he was a long shot when he won a recent race at Hawthorne Race Course.

His mother Lulu was purchased for $300 at a slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center. Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.

After the foal was born, Vacca traced his lineage back to an impressive sire -- a $2.58 million career stakes winner.

Vacca and others from the equine center formed a partnership, Rescue Me Racing, and some of Magna Fortuna's winnings go back to the rescue.

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