The much-anticipated debut of University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s horse Russdiculous – named for charismatic Cardinal junior guard Russ Smith – is set for Saturday’s third race at Santa Anita Park, scheduled for 5:02 p.m. ET.
Russdiculous, a Kentucky-bred son of Malibu Moon born May 1, 2010, will face seven foes in the $47,000 sprint on dirt for maidens and will have top jockey Garrett Gomez aboard.
Doug O’Neill, trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, trains the colt. Russdiculous has been working steadily at Del Mar, Hollywood and Santa Anita. His most recent work was a speedy five furlongs in :59.60.
Russdiculous was purchased by Doug’s brother, Dennis, for $145,000 and is owned by the partnership that includes Lou Lamoriello, CEO and president of the New Jersey Devils. When he was athletic director at Providence, Lamoriello hired a young Pitino to lead the Friars.
Doug O’Neill’s assistant trainer, Jack Sisterson, is a University of Louisville graduate who played soccer for the Cardinals.
Pitino has two other colts in training named after U of L players. Gorgui, a son of Bellamy Road named for center Gorgui Dieng, posted his first work at Saratoga on Oct. 11. Siva, a son of Flatter named for senior guard Peyton Siva, is working steadily at Adena Springs Farm.
Photo courtesy Jack Sisterson