Hall of Fame basketball coach Denny Crum, who made a splash when purchasing a horse at the 2021 Keeneland November sale for $825,000, passed away Tuesday at the age of 86. Crum led Louisville to national championships in men’s basketball in 1980 and 1986.
His purchase, a colt named Strava (Into Mischief), went on to win two races for Crum, his partners, Siena Farm LLC and WinStar Farm, and trainer Dallas Stewart.
“He’s had horses off and on,” Stewart said when asked about Crum’s purchase of Strava. “He’s got a piece of another 2-year-old. He’s been in the game a long time. He knows the ups and the downs. He has won a lot at the buzzer and he has lost a lot at the buzzer, so he knows what’s going on.”
Strava’s most recent win came just last week when he won a May 4 allowance race at Churchill Downs. He also won an allowance last November 27 at Churchill.
“It’s been a long time coming it seems,” Crum told the Churchill Downs media department after the win by Strava in November. “I really liked the way he finished up. Our trainer did a hell of a job.”
Stewart and Crum have success together before Strava came along, most notably with a mare named Nasty Storm (Gulch). She won three graded events and placed in a pair of Grade Is before selling to Frank Stronach for $1.075 million at the 2002 KEENOV sale.
Crum was the head basketball coach at Louisville for 30 years and won 675 out of the 970 games he coached. He guided the team to six Final Four appearances.