It's Awesome Baby for Vitale, Pitino

It's Awesome Baby for Vitale, Pitino
Photo:
Sportscaster Dick Vitale, second from left, escorts Itsawesomebaby off the track.
Awesome Baby, making his first start for owners Dick Vitale, the voice of college basketball on ESPN, and Rick Pitino, coach of the University of Louisville's men's basketball team, won his debut in a maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds at Calder Race Course Friday.

While Pitino has been a Thoroughbred racehorse owner for some time, this was Vitale's first start as an owner. The roan 2-year-old son of Lost Soldier trained by Cam Gambolati made the new owner's wishes come true with an exciting late-running neck victory under jockey Gary Boulanger.

Pitino commented, "I think we can talk him into getting more (horses). First time out -- he's hooked."

"This was really a thrill," said Vitale after the winner's circle ceremony. "I really had so much fun. I thought he was in trouble initially because he was so far behind but he showed a lot of athletic ability in his stride. I know nothing about horses. I do know this -- he showed a lot of heart and guts to come back and win. I'm excited. Now we'll go to South Beach and spend a little of the money we won and have a good time. It's awesome, baby!"

The 6-5 favorite in the field of seven paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40.

(Chart, Equibase)

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