A horse named Party Dancer won a race in California on Thursday. Its owner? Rick Pitino, whose legacy at Louisville was blemished by a scandal that involved exotic dancers and escorts three years ago.
Pitino was in the winner’s circle with the horse at Del Mar Racetrack after the 3-year-old’s second victory of the year, according to horseracingnation.com.
Pitino is listed on the Del Mar Racetrack website as the owner of the horse through his RAP Racing brand. Pitino has been involved with horse racing throughout his basketball coaching career.
However, it’s unclear when he acquired the horse or the origins of its name. The horse was auctioned to Ben McElroy in 2017, per Equibase.com.
Party Dancer, trained by Simon Callaghan, finished ahead of Chalky and K P Pergoliscious in the race.
Three years before Louisville fired Pitino for his alleged role in a $100,000 pay-for-play scandal, his legacy was tarnished by a sex-for-pay scandal that involved an escort named Katina Powell. In 2015, Powell published a book that accused former Louisville assistant Andre McGee of hiring her and others to entertain recruits and players.
Powell said McGee would encourage the girls to dance for Louisville players and recruits before requesting additional acts.
“Andre was the one who always had the money … made it rain,” Powell told ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “[He] made the deals, paid for the deals. He would start the music and usually the girls would come out one-by-one. And they would dance for the recruit. And he would ask me, ‘Is there any girls that want to, you know, make extra money?’ … That’s when I started dealing with McGee.”
McGee was given a 10-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA. Louisville banned itself from the 2016 NCAA tournament in anticipation of major sanctions from the NCAA.