LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rick Pitino became a Hall of Famer and an NCAA champion on the same day. Now the Louisville basketball coach is positioned to become a Kentucky Derby-winning owner if Goldencents wins on Saturday.
Talk about the greatest four weeks ever.
Despite attempts to downplay Pitino's hot streak, his appearance for Wednesday's workout at Churchill Downs showed how much people like being around a winner. He looked every bit the rock star wearing sunglasses as he walked through a throng of Cardinals and race fans who had waited patiently outside the barn.
And to think, Pitino owns just 5 percent of the horse that is a 5-1 choice to win the Derby from the No. 8 post. But given his current roll, it's hard to bet against him.
"Obviously, we're rooting for Goldencents, but the Derby is something that you never know" how it will evolve, Pitino said. "If we don't win it, I'd like to see someone like [trainer] Shug McGaughey win it. He's never won the Derby, he's a great trainer, and a friend of mine. I'd like to see a Goldencents-Orb exacta; that would be awesome."
Long time coming. If Kevin Krigger wins the Kentucky Derby aboard Goldencents, he will be the first black jockey to accomplish the feat since 1902.
Different game. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez placed his trust in jockey Garrett Gomez after Vyjack landed post No. 20, the far-outside spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.
Gomez, the nation's leading rider from 2006 to '08, is winless in nine Derby mounts.
"He's a big boy, he's been in the big races. It's up to him," Rodriguez said.