Meet The Lucky Private Equity Guy Who Owns A Piece Of The Horse That Just Won The Kentucky Derby

Yurie Pascarella Carl Pascarella
Yurie and Carl Pascarella

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Animal Kingdom is not the only horse in which private equity man Carl Pascarella, has owned a stake, Dealbook reports.But after the weekend, it’s obviously the best known.

The colt came from behind on Saturday to win the 137th Kentucky Derby, even though it had never run on dirt before; had only run four races in its life; and had just had a six-week break, the WSJ reported.

The odds on the horse winning were 21-1.

A columnist for the Bleacher Report said prior to the race: “We can forget Animal Kingdom… The last thing you want to bet on is a horse who’s never raced on the kind of track they are about to.”

But Pascarella is a private equity man, so we’re not surprised he saw the value in this underrated racehorse.

According to a friend who was with the Pascarellas at Churchill Downs, Carl “knew it was a long shot” and wasn’t going to be disappointed if the horse didn’t come out on top. “They were thrilled just to have a horse in the race,” the friend told us.

Still, out of loyalty, Pascarella did bet that Animal Kingdom would have a triumph, the friend said.

Pascarella and his wife Yurie own the colt with at least 20 others, part of a syndicate called Team Valor. The Pascarellas “are one of five who control a more than 5 per cent stake,” Peter Lattman at Dealbook reports.

When the couple ventured out in Louisville that evening, people were asking for their autographs on programs, and anything else that was a Derby-related artifact. And while Carl is “generally a shy guy,” according to his friend, Kentucky-ians made that difficult for him to maintain after the race.

“Carl and Yurie were asked to pose for literally two dozen pictures on Saturday night,” the friend told us.

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Animal Kingdom stormed home on Saturday.

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Pascarella grew up near Buffalo in New York — where he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo —  and now lives and works in San Francisco.He’s the former CEO of Visa in America, and joined TPG in 2006. When he left Visa in 2005, the industry was “shocked.”

Prior to Visa, Pascarella was a VP in the International Division of Crocker National Bank. He earned an M.S from Stanford.

His wife Yurie hails from Tokyo, has a degree in linguistics and also worked in finance — “in banking,” according to the SFGate.

The couple are well-known on the San Fran social and philanthropic scene, with involvement in the San Francisco Symphony, the Ballet and the Asian Art Museum.

Carl and Yurie “are a team,” their friend told us, “and have loved horses all their lives”

On the differences in winning big on the racetrack, rather than the markets, Pascarella told Dealbook: “Usually to deliver that kind of I.R.R., it takes longer than two minutes and isn’t half as much fun.”