Chance Dugan is putting her Bellarmine Knights through their paces as they prepare for their second season in NCAA Division I. Over the summer, however, her heart was in a very different sport: horseracing. Dugan, Bellarmine’s women’s basketball coach since 2012, has a limited share in Lamartine, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Two Dimes Stables in Louisville. On June 26, her first start as an owner, she cheered him to a win in a $50,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs.
How did you become interested in horseracing?
My dad loved the track, and I was a daddy’s girl, so where he went, I went. He would take me to the track and let me pick out one horse each race to bet on. I have always had a big love affair with horses; my best friend growing up had horses, and we would ride all the time. I wanted to be a jockey when I was younger and shorter, but growing to 6-foot-3 takes that off the table!
When did you decide that you wanted to become more than a fan and invest in a horse?
I’ve always dreamed of owning a horse, but nothing has ever presented itself to me before. Last summer I was talking about horses with Trustee Brad Ray, and he asked if I would want to join Two Dimes Stable. Of course, I said yes. I got in touch with managing partner Clinton Glasscock and I was in! Clint does all the day-to-day operations, hires the trainers and purchases the horses. This has been a great first experience!
Do you have any input on “coaching” Lamartine?
HA! I wish I could have some, but I don’t have the knowledge that the trainers do—yet! I do love going to the barn and seeing Lamartine. When he comes back to Churchill, I will get out there more, catch some workouts and try to listen and learn as much as possible. I’m always trying to get better!
What was it like to watch your horse win at Churchill Downs? As a Louisville native, it must have been a “goose bump moment” to be in the Winner’s Circle.
Talk about a dream come true! The last time Dad and I were at Churchill together was June 26, 1999- He died July 14. So being back at the track on that day was special anyway, but to have a horse running was surreal. I was just hoping that he had a safe trip—I pray for that each time he runs. We were all up on the third floor watching the race. As he got to the top of the stretch he was in the lead. I saw two horses coming fast up alongside him and was yelling and screaming like everyone, but as he got closer to the finish line, he hit another gear and held them off. I had goose bumps on goose bumps! All I remember in the Winner’s Circle was that some of my players had come out to the track and they were in the stands yelling my name. I don’t think my feet hit the ground all day. It was an amazing feeling.
Do you plan to invest in more horses?
I would love to keep growing in the horse racing industry and keep learning.
What, if any, are the parallels between owning a racehorse and coaching a basketball team?
Coaching is coaching: It’s about relationships and trust. Xs and Os are such a small part of what we do. Getting to know players—or horses!—and seeing how they work and what makes them go is a huge part of what we do.
How are the Knights looking as we head into the second season in NCAA Division I?
This was the first summer that we could work with our team (last year we couldn’t because of COVID). It was a great summer—they worked so hard. They know what to expect now from the league and what the pace of D1 is. We are looking forward to seeing our growth this season. It’s going to be a process, but I feel like we are headed in the right direction.