CRAWFORD | Pitino-owned filly headed for the Kentucky Oaks, but he is not
Coach Rocks, a filly co-owned by Rick Pitino, won the Gulfstream Park Oaks on Saturday to jump to No. 2 on the Kentucky Oaks points standings, but Pitino says he won't attend the race as long as the current leadership is in place on the University of Louisville board of trustees.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Rick Pitino’s filly, Coach Rocks, is headed for the Kentucky Oaks. But Pitino on Saturday said he’ll be a scratch for one of the sport’s signature days.
“Unless David [Grissom] and the pizza guy Papa John [Schnatter] retire from the Board of Trustees, then I’ll be there,” Pitino said, as reported by The Associated Press.
It’s a strange stance. Pitino’s issue should be with U of L, not the city, and certainly not Churchill Downs – though Grissom is a board member emeritus of Churchill Downs, Inc.
Pitino didn’t seem to have an issue with the city when Chris Mack called him to talk about the Louisville job.
“He had nothing but great things to say about the city of Louisville,” Mack said.
Pitino has had plenty of support in the city, particularly as the last basketball season drew to a close. As more coaches have been caught up in speculation surrounding the current federal probe into college basketball corruption yet kept their jobs, even coached in the NCAA Tournament, more voices have risen to question Pitino’s dismissal, though the school noted that other factors were involved.
His beef isn’t with Churchill Downs, or the city. But as he always has, Pitino will do things his own way. I’m sure a return here would be difficult for him. But he’d also likely find more support than he might expect.
His filly, Coach Rocks, is co-owned with West Point Thoroughbreds and Robby Valente. With her win in Saturday’s Gulfstream Park Oaks, Coach Rocks vaulted to No. 2 in the Oaks points standings.
The Dale Romans filly went winless in her first eight starts, but scored an impressive eight-length victory in her eighth race, prompting Romans to enter her against better competition at Gulfstream.
After leading her maiden win wire-to-wire, she showed the ability to come from off the pace on Saturday, making her move in mid-stretch to pull off with a 1 ½-length victory.
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