09/06/2014 5:29PM

Pitino's group scores with Croninthebarbarian in Kentucky Downs Juvenile


FRANKLIN, Ky. – Basketball season hasn’t begun in Kentucky, and University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is already winning. Saturday it came as a member of Ol’ Memorial Stable partnership ownership group when their horse Croninthebarbarian rallied powerfully down the stretch to win the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile by two lengths.

Last of 10 early as favored Luck of the Kitten set the pace, Croninthebarbarian kicked in gear down the long Kentucky Downs stretch to blow past the opposition with an eye-catching rally .

The winner, a 2-year-old son of Stroll trained by Garry Simms and also bred by Ol Memorial, raced seven furlongs on a firm Kentucky Downs turf course in 1:26.10. He paid $10.40.

“I went wide but I didn’t have a choice. I just wanted to give him a clean trip in the stretch,” winning jockey Leandro Goncalves said. “He did his job. He is a nice 2-year-old. He didn’t have a good trip but he was the best horse.”

The favored Luck of the Kitten finished a clear second after setting the pace following a bad stumble at the start.  Czar was 3 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up in third.

Neither Pitino nor Simms was present in the winner’s circle for the trophy presentation following the Kentucky Downs Juvenile.