LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The small group with a literal vested interest in the racehorse gathered in the grandstand to watch the brief workout. Some stood, some sat, some sat on the railings. They made small talk and traded a few zingers, but mostly they were just waiting.
And then, finally, trainer Doug O'Neill called out to his minority owner, Rick Pitino, "Here he comes, Coach."
In a flash, Goldencents blazed by, to the unknowing eye just a horse going around a turn at Churchill Downs, but to the knowing eye an athlete in training for his big moment.
The ones in the know didn't say much. They never do. The fragile line between success and failure in horse racing tends to take the boast out of most people. The insiders instead simply nodded their heads, O'Neill offering a simple, "He looks good."
Finally, just as everyone made a move to head back downstairs, Pitino, the Pied Piper who brought together the crowd that included a 5-foot-6 jockey and a 6-11 Senegalese basketball player, quipped:
"OK. I'm convinced. He's a winner," Pitino said. "I'm going to the finish line. I'll see you all there on Saturday."
Click here for the rest of Dana O'Neil's story.