College basketball coach makes his dream of owning a horse come true

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Two-penny stable Lamartine Chancellor Dugan’s lifelong dream of owning (at least part of) a racehorse came true when the 6 year old gelding raced at Churchill Downs on June 26th.

The fact that Lamartine, coached by Juan Cano, made Dugan a winner from the start in a claim race was a huge advantage. Saturday, Lamartine, claimed by Two Dimes for $ 32,000 on June 6, tries another big step by running into the $ 75,000 Good Lord Stakes at Ellis Park. And even though she’s still a new horse owner, Dugan has a good idea of ​​what they’re up against as she delves into a stake company.

After all, Dugan is the women’s basketball coach at Bellarmine University in Louisville. Last year, the Knights moved from NCAA Division II to Division I. The team that went 18-11, losing in the semifinals of the COVID-shortened season conference tournament in 2019-2020 , went 5-11 in last season’s Division I debut.

“I’ll compare that to if we face the University of Louisville,” said Dugan, who coached the Southern Indiana women’s basketball team from 1991 to 1999, taking the Screaming Eagles to the championship game. National Division II in 1997. “They are historically in the top five. Just to have that opportunity, to see where you are and to see what you’re made of of what you’ve got in you, I hope this is where we are on Saturday at mail time.

Growing up in Louisville, the graduate of Sacred Heart Academy (where she was a swimmer) and Eastern Kentucky University (where she walked and earned a basketball scholarship) learned to love horse racing through her dad.

“It’s been a dream of mine forever,” said Dugan of owning horses. “My dad would take me to Churchill all the time, teaching me how to read the program and what he was looking for. I’ve always said if I ever had the chance to do it, I would. Growing up, I wanted to be a jockey. But I have 6-3, so it didn’t work out.

She calls it “surreal” to win her first start as an owner.

“I think it was 22 years to the day the last time I was with my dad, and we were actually at Churchill Downs,” Dugan said. “To come quickly and be in the winner’s circle with your own horse, that was pretty cool. He came out on top, which he likes to do, and when he got to the top of the stretch, I was like, “Oh my God, he’s gone too fast. There’s no way. They’re going to get there. rolling. And he shifted into another gear. It was a great feeling. It was like winning a game.

Dugan knew several members of Two Dimes, including managing partner Clint Glasscock, Brad Ray and Joe Montano, whose daughter Therese played for Dugan in Bellarmine. Although she has only a tiny fraction of Lamartine, emotions are strong, whether you are for a hair or for the whole horse.

“I went to see him the day before his race, and he is magnificent,” she said. “A lot of times it has nothing to do with it, but he looked like he could really run. I don’t know anything about horse racing other than trying to pick winners. But I look at his previous races and how he was doing, and I think they were smart at shortening the distance. Because I think he’s a sprinter.

“As a coach, I kind of want to coach him. But I’ll leave that to Juan. He does a fantastic job. I asked him a few questions. I just like the differences of what it’s like to train an animal versus a human. It’s a whole different ball game because they have no feedback to give you other than what they tell you when they run.

The Brazilian-bred Lamartine runs for a purse of $ 50,000, as it is not of the Kentucky breed (for which the race purse includes $ 25,000 in Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Funds money). He’s 15-1 in Jimmy McNerney’s morning line and will be ridden by Gabriel Saez.

“There’s not much going for him so we thought we would give it a shot,” said Montano. “It will be a tough race. “

Dugan thinks his horse and his team have one thing in common: “I think they’re going to surprise a few people this year.”


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