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O'Neill pleased to be training for Pitino

Doug O'Neill
Trainer Doug O’Neill couldn’t hide his delight as University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and his advisors stopped by Barn Y to check on thoroughbreds under O’Neill’s care.

Pitino, the only coach in NCAA history to take three different teams to a Final Four, was recruited this year by an O’Neill assistant who had attended Louisville on a soccer scholarship.

“He befriended coach Pitino and has been talking to him about how we’d love to get a horse for him.,” O’Neill said. “Now we’ve got three babies, three really good 2-year-olds for him, and it’s just a great addition.”

Pitino has had partnerships in Celtic Pride Stable and Ol Memorial Stable. The top horses of his association, both trained by Nick Zito, were 1998 Blue Grass Stakes winner and fourth-place Kentucky Derby finishers Halory Hunter, and 2008 Champagne Stakes winner A P Valentine.

“He’s such a positive person, and just handles everything so well,” O’Neill said of Pitino. “One of the babies got a little sick, typical stuff really, and watching him react to that adversity was very interesting. He’s such an amazing man and you can tell why he’s been such a successful coach.

“He’s constantly looking at the positive and showing patience. If they can run, ultimately things will pay off for us.”

One of Pitino’s horses, a Johannesberg colt named Avare (pronounced A-var) might start during the meeting.

Avare worked four furlongs Wednesday morning under jockey Garr
ett Gomez in :49.20.


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Older Comments about O'Neill pleased to be training for Pitino...

This is good news for me. Two of my favorite sports personalities working together. I will have to watch Avare in the future.

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