Pitino names horse after Russ Smith

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has a history of naming horses he owns after friends, family and players. Pitino is at it again, this time naming a promising 2-year-old after one of his current players.

Pitino has a 2-year-old expected to debut at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Southern California sometime this summer named after fan-favorite Russ Smith.

The bay colt is named Russdiculous and is trained by Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill.

Russdiculous is the third horse in training right now for Pitino named after a current player. He also has Siva named after point guard Peyton Siva and Gorgui named after center Gorgui Dieng in training.

"Doug O'Neill said he needed a name," Pitino said. "He said this horse could be anything. He could be a great one or maybe not. He said he just has so much talent.

"I said, ‘So you just don't know about him, huh?' So, I told him that I knew someone who can be the MVP of both teams, so that's what we named him Russdiculous."

Smith, a junior guard from New York, often agitates Pitino with his erratic play. But he was second on the team in scoring at 11.5 a game and had a team-high 87 steals in helping the Cardinals to the Final Four last season.

The 87 steals set a new single-season record at U of L.

"That's just Russ," Pitino said. "He didn't guard anybody as a freshman and becomes the all-time steal leader in the history of the school."

Russdiculous was foaled on May 1, 2010 – which was the day of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby – and is a son of Malibu Moon. His dam is Mycatcandance.

Pitino said he was still excited about Gorgui and Peyton.

The colt named after Dieng is a son of Bellamy Road and a "big, big colt," while the one named after Siva is "very, very quick."

Pitino also has a horse in training – A McCoughtry - named after former U of L women's All-American and current U.S. Olympic team member Angel McCoughtry . The filly has a win and third-place finish in four career starts.

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