Members of Terry Lanni's family and horse racing associates gathered at Churchill Downs last weekend, hoping for a big win in Lanni's honor.
If their horse, 4-year-old gelding Game on Dude, could win the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, "Horse of the Year" honors were a cinch.
Lanni's widow, Debbie, and sons Patrick and Sean were on hand for the season finale. Lanni, a former top casino executive at Caesars World and MGM Grand and a prominent thoroughbred owner, died July 14 at age 68.
It looked like their dream finish was in the cards when Game on Dude took the lead into the stretch.
But jockey Mike Smith and Drosselmeyer overtook Chantal Sutherland and Game on Dude to win by a length and a half.
"We celebrated in glory like we won the race," said co-owner Bernie Schiappa.
Game on Dude had already provided a huge emotional win this fall in the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita.
Lanni's family was given the honor of leading Game on Dude into the winner's circle.
"It was emotional, a special moment for all of us," said Schiappa, who co-owns Game on Dude with the Lannis, retired baseball manager Joe Torre and former Las Vegas video poker developer Ernie Moody, owner of Mercedes Stables in Del Mar.
Veteran trainer Bob Baffert has been part of the team for years.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison of "Pawn Stars" was wearing long sleeves for good reason Tuesday during an appearance on KTNV-TV, Channel 13. A motorcycle accident Friday during a desert run near Joshua Tree, Calif., left him with a number of abrasions. He showed up for the TV commitment at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop for the store's $11,500 donation to Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
The premiere of "The Last Gamble" will be held Sunday at Crown Theater and Nightclub (Rio). Cast members include Steve Bauer, Sally Kellerman and Nick Mancuso. Admission is $25 and $100 for VIP seats. Red carpet at 9:30 p.m. The official party will be held Saturday at Brendan Theaters (Palms), hosted by Nico Santucci of Capo's on Sahara.
Herculez Gomez of the U.S. soccer team, at the Crown & Anchor pub on Tuesday, having a couple of black and tans at the soccer hangout. Usher, dining at Sushi Roku Las Vegas. He's in town for the Latin Grammys at Mandalay Bay tonight. Actor Noel Gugliemi, known for his gangster roles, in Gold & Silver Pawn on Monday.
THE PUNCH LINE
"They sentenced Lindsay Lohan to prison for 30 days, and she did five hours. I just pray that she can make it on the outside now. On the bright side, just a few more mug shots and Lindsay will have enough for a calendar." -- David Letterman