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Prized Crundwell horse euthanized

Lottery winner's representative bought horse at auction

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 11:14 a.m. CDT
(SVM file photo)
A worker with Meri-J Ranch in Beloit, Wis., walks the bay stallion Good I Will Be, also known as "Willy," at the Rita Crundwell ranch southeast of Dixon on Sept. 21, 2012. The horse was purchased for $775,000 at auction 2 days later. On Sunday, its new owner had to euthanize Good I Will Be, which had undergone surgery for kidney stones the previous day.

DIXON – Good I Will Be, one of the prize horses sold last year in the federal auction of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s assets, had to be euthanized by its new owner Sunday.

The bay stallion successfully underwent surgery for kidney stones Saturday, but never fully woke up from the anesthesia, said manager Stephen Stephens of Dry River Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. The horse started to show signs of discomfort about a week earlier and was taken to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Hospital for treatment, Stephens said.

Kidney stones are rare for horses because of their regulated diet, Stephens said.  Good I Will Be was “100 percent” healthy, he said, when purchased by Stephens for Sandra Morgan of Vancouver, British Columbia, who won $35 million in the Canadian lottery in 2011.

The horse, which was purchased for $775,000 plus an additional 10 percent buyer’s premium, had already started to perform as a sire for its owners, bringing in at least $100,000 in its first year, Stephens said.

“He was probably the up and coming sire of the industry,” he said. “He was the head honcho.”

The horse’s offspring had been “dominating” competitions for showhorses, Stephens said.

Good I Will Be was one of more than 400 horses seized from Crundwell’s estate and sold by the U.S. Marshals Service, said Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of the Marshals Asset Forfeiture Division.

If the horse had died before the auction in 2012, like eight of the horses did, the city wouldn’t have the more than $800,000 from its sale, Wojdylo said, included in the now nearly $9.2 million “restoration.” The horse’s death won’t affect the money the city expects to receive, he added.

“It will in no way impact that,” Wojdylo said. “With the sale of this particular horse, the funds were transferred to the marshals already. The money is in the bank.”

Wojdylo expects the estimated $9.2 million to be transferred from the U.S. Marshals to the clerk of the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Illinois within 30 days. The clerk’s office will then transfer the money to the city.

The U.S. Marshals made selling the horses, located on 22 farms in 13 states, a priority because as live animals they were a “high risk asset,” Wojdylo said, adding that the marshals had never had to sell so many animals.

“It was unprecedented,” he said. “It had never occurred in the U.S. Marshals history.”

The majority of the horses were sold in an online auction, in order to reduce the cost and risk of transferring them to Dixon for the live auction, Wojdylo said.

Crundwell is serving a sentence of 19 years, 7 months in a federal prison in Waseca, Minn., after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $54 million in city funds over two decades.

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