University of Louisville

Louisville’s media guide was all set. Then Bobby Petrino made one ‘oddly entertaining’ change.

Cardinals wide receivers Jaylen Smith, center, Seth Dawkins left, and Dez Fitzpatrick are joined by Triple Crown winner Justify on the cover of the 2018 Louisville football media guide.
Cardinals wide receivers Jaylen Smith, center, Seth Dawkins left, and Dez Fitzpatrick are joined by Triple Crown winner Justify on the cover of the 2018 Louisville football media guide. University of Louisville Athletics

If Triple Crown winner Justify could make it as a multi-sport athlete, Louisville football knows right where to put him — on the cover of its 2018 football media guide.

This year’s cover features wide receivers Jaylen Smith, Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick alongside Justify in a 100th anniversary edition highlighting Louisville as “Speed City.”

The cover reads: “Fast Thoroughbreds aren’t the only ones who accelerate to win here. Louisville Cardinals have been taking flight at a break-neck pace for over a century.”

The “Speed City” theme had already been worked out, but a day before the deadline, head coach Bobby Petrino weighed in with the Justify idea, according to Rocco Gasparro, Louisville’s assistant sports information director. Justify’s connections signed off on the use of his image, and creative director Grant Apgar pulled it together, Gasparro said.

The cover’s release inspired a lot of love and comments on social media.

“The spread just went from 26 points to 22 points now that we know Alabama’s defense has to tackle a horse,” joked Ben Jones of TideSports.com on Twitter.

Louisville and Alabama meet to open the season Sept. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

“I love that not only is Justify on the cover of the Louisville football media guide, but they made him look like an actual member of the team,” said Mike Rutherford of CardChronicle.com.

“He needs to get 20 carries against ‘Bama. (In the annals of oddly entertaining media guide covers, this is up there.),” said Pat Forde, of YahooSports.com.

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari took his players to see Triple Crown winner Justify on Wednesday at Churchill Downs in Louisville. What did the players think of the champion racehorse?

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