Pitino horse ready for Breeders' Cup race

Pitino horse ready for Breeders' Cup race

University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino will start a horse in this weekend's Breeders' Cup World Championship at Santa Anita. Pitino won't attend the Breeders' Cup but will be watching close.

Rick Pitino is busy preparing his University of Louisville basketball team for next week's season-opener against Manhattan College.

But on Friday evening, the veteran U of L basketball coach will be focused on watching one of his horses run in the Breeders' Cup World Championship at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

The Pitino-owned South Floyd – named for the street the Cardinals' basketball practice facility and offices are housed on – is the fourth-choice in a seven-horse field in the Juvenile Sprint.

The race is expected to go off at 4:05 p.m. ET and is the first of 15 championship races during the two-day Breeders' Cup card.

South Floyd is a bay son of Any Given Sunday and is trained by Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill. The colt will have jockey Ramon Dominguez in the irons for the Breeders' Cup race.

In two career starts, South Floyd has a win and a runner-up. He won his first career start in September at Fairplex Park and then finished second in the Tim Conway Stakes on Oct. 6 at Santa Anita.

Pitino has named several horse for players, friends and has several other names that are related to U of L.

He has a horse named A McCoughtry – after former U of L women's star Angel McCoughtry – and Avare after his longtime friend and business associate Rick Avare. He also has horses named Siva, Gorgui and Russdiculous after current players.

Siva, named after senior point guard Peyton Siva, worked last week at Churchill Downs and Pitino and the human version of Siva were on hand.

"That was my first time actually being that close, besides seeing like a police horse or something like that," Siva said. "It was good. He ran fast and he did better than expected. They day he did good."

Siva said he hasn't seen the horse named after fellow guard Russ Smith but noted, "I just know Gorgui's horse is bigger than both of ours." Gorgui is named after U of L center Gorgui Dieng.

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