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"Awesome Baby," horse owned by Dick Vitale and Rick Pitino wins race
The 2-year-old colt It's Awesome Baby, owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and ESPN basketball announcer Dick Vitale, ran for the first time Friday at Calder. The colt finished first in the eight-horse field as the 6-5 favorite.
The joint ownership between Pitino and Vitale caused some controversy in journalistic circles when the pairing first came to light.
Vitale, who lives in Sarasota, had his two daughters, their husbands and three grandchildren in tow heading toward the winner's circle. Pitino stepped aside as Vitale took center stage.
''I know nothing about horses; it was all Rick's idea,'' Vitale said. ``He knows I like horses, and as a matter of fact, I always go to the horse farms when I'm in Kentucky covering [basketball] games.
``[Pitino] offered me 25 percent interest, and I jumped at it. I'm in it to have fun. . . . He had to explain to me how to bet and what an exacta and trifecta are. I think I had all of $20 bet on the race. I'm 64, and I want to have something I can have fun with and this looks like it's it.''
Pitino and Vitale paid $100,000 for the Florida-bred son of Lost Soldier. It's Awesome Baby paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40.