Features

Shug McGaughey did the ultimate Stable Tour in The Special back in 2004 when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Shug’s 32 Flavors began with Inside Information and finished with Aldiza, with everything else in between. Just McGaughey talking about the horses who shaped his career. (Originally published in the Sept. 2 edition of The Saratoga Special.)

By the end we asked McGaughey about his best training performance. Remember, this was 2004, perhaps it’s been eclipsed since, but then, it was Seeking The Gold and Coronado’s Quest a close second.

“Maybe Seeking The Gold. The reason being they always told me he wouldn’t get a mile-and-a-quarter. And I always said, ‘He’ll get a mile-and-a-quarter if I can get him to where he’ll wait on his rider.’ Two times he ran a mile-and-a-quarter and got beat a nose in the Travers here to Forty Niner and he got beat a neck to Alysheba in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. To get him, with his pedigree, to run a mile-and-a-quarter in top-class company was pretty satisfying. I was disappointed that he got beat those two times, but I wasn’t disappointed in the effort.”

Friday morning, The Special’s Sean Clancy went searching for the next Seeking The Gold in McGaughey’s storied shedrow, a bunt single from the three-quarter pole at the Oklahoma Training Track.

On Leave: Stuart Janney’s homebred daughter of War Front won four in a row last year. This summer, she won the Perfect Sting at Belmont Park. “She ran here, finished second in the De La Rose, just got beat, and didn’t run any good in the Ballston Spa, finished fifth, she got into some trouble. She’s going to go to Maryland for the All Along,”

Apple Betty: The Irish-bred daughter of Galileo has won four races for owner Joe Allen. “She won the River Memories and was fourth here in the Waya, they laid on her the whole way, we’ll probably wait for Keeneland for that mile-and-a-half race, nice kind of filly, came from Europe, a true mile-and-a-half kind of horse.”

Peaceful Passage: Emory Hamilton’s homebred daughter of War Front made her American debut when fifth here Aug. 21. “We’ll get her back to Belmont and go long, she broke her maiden in England going a mile-and-a-half on the Polytrack. She’s a half-sister to Hungry Island. Probably going to be OK, but she’s got to go far.”

Snap Decision: Phipps Stable homebred won twice before launching into Saratoga stakes this summer. “Fourth in the Hall of Fame, came back and finished third in the Better Talk Now, just got beat, ran really fast. I think he wants to go a little farther than a mile, mile-and-a-sixteenth. I’m going to let him get over those two races and try to find something. He’s a nice horse.”

Fly So High: A rare sales graduate in McGaughey’s barn, the bay filly fetched $675,000 from Lane’s End at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale last summer. “Malibu Moon 2-year-old filly that the Phippses bought at the sale. Strong pedigree, I’ve got high hopes for her. She’ll run in the third week at Belmont.”

Profiteer: Janney homebred improved to 3-for-6 with a strong allowance score on Travers Day. “Second in a stake at Tampa, ran him at Keeneland, no good, gave him some time off, and he came back and won a two-other-than on Travers Day. He’ll either run in the Virginia Derby or the stake for 3-year-olds at Belmont.”

Pink Sands: Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale graduate last summer, the daughter of Tapit makes her career debut Sunday. “Expensive yearling at Saratoga last year, she’s probably got some potential.”

Fire Away: Another Phipps homebred and another son of War Front, he’s made two starts at the meet, 11 days apart. “He was fourth in the Lure and came back and finished third in an allowance race. I ran him back too soon, nice kind of horse.”

Browse: Phipps homebred is 3-1 in today’s eighth. “A lot of pedigree, she just got beat here earlier in the meet, she could probably win a little stake somewhere along the line. Medaglia d’Oro out of Daydreaming doesn’t want to run that far.”

Fair Point: Five-year-old daughter of Smart Strike won twice at Saratoga last summer but is winless in four tries this year, including a sixth in the Smart N Fancy Stakes. “She won a stakes up here last year, just got beat in one at Keeneland and won a stake in California. Nice filly, but she’s been disappointing up here, finished second the first time, didn’t run any good the other day, I’ve got to figure her out, I gave her the winter off and she just doesn’t seem to come back with the same spark, I’ve got to figure out whether to go on…Jose (Ortiz) rides her, he says she might want to run a little farther, we’ve been running her as a come-from-behind sprinter.”

Sargeant Drive: Blue blood? The unraced 2-year-old colt is by Tapit out of Carriage Trail. “I worked him out of the gate earlier in the meet, his ankles jumped up on him, had to kind of back off on him, he breezed the other day, nice, big, strong colt, he’ll breeze again Sunday. He’ll run probably around first of October.”

Barrier Island: Phipps Stable homebred breezed 4 furlongs from the gate in :48.66 Aug. 28. “She’s a very nice Speightstown filly out of Boca Grande. I had a little trouble at the gate or she would have run here, but we’ve got all that behind her. I’ve got a race picked out for her in the middle of September.”

News Anchor: A rare New York-bred in McGaughey’s barn, the son of Data Link finished second in his debut for Niall and Stephanie Brennan. Like most of the 2-year-olds, he’s based at the harness track with McGaughey’s son, Reeve. “I thought he ran really good here, he came out of the race good and we’re looking forward to running him back down at Belmont.”

Blockade: A full-brother to Profiteer, the gray colt has been entered several times at Saratoga. “I scratched him Travers Day and I haven’t been able to get him back in, he didn’t make the overnight Saturday, he’s on the also-eligibles Sunday, nice colt.”

War Flag: Bred and owned by Joe Allen, the daughter of War Front began her career with three wins and two seconds in five starts in France. “She’s in the Glens Falls. I think as we go along, she could be a really nice filly, she won at Monmouth, beat the colts, then went down and was second, beaten a half-length in the Matchmaker, filly got through on the inside and she couldn’t catch her.”

Parade: If you were playing the pedigree angle, you were rewarded when this daughter of Tapit scored in her first attempt at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt here Aug. 23. “I ran her on the turf first time at Aqueduct, she ran awful, so we backed off her and came back and sprinted her on the dirt twice, one was a fast-closing third. She’s a Tapit (out of On Parade, a daughter of My Flag, who’s out of the great Personal Ensign). She just naturally wants to run that far, it’s just going to be hard for a while to find two-turn races for 3-year-old fillies. We always thought she was going to be OK. I thought she wanted the turf, but she ran terrible the day I ran her at Aqueduct, I mean terrible. When the track was so tiring, I stayed away from running them a mile-and-an-eighth. With her, coming off two sprints on the dirt, I told Dylan (Davis), ‘Listen there’s some speed in here, don’t worry about it.’ He rode a good race.”

Hierarchy: Phipps Stable 2-year-old has posted six breezes at Fair Hill. “Point Of Entry colt out of Place Of Honor, a daughter of My Flag, he worked the other day, he will probably come to Belmont and be ready this fall, he came late, but that was by design.”

Bail Out: By Arch out of graded stakes placed Hidden Reserve, the bay colt breezed three times at Brennan’s Ocala training center. “He’s just been a big soft Arch, got some shins, we worked on them, he’s back.”

War Chest: Two-year-old son of War Front is breezing steadily at Fair Hill. “He’ll break out of the gate on Tuesday with Personal Time, a full-brother to Orb. Both of those horses should be about ready to run. The full-brother to Orb was up here, but I didn’t like the way he was going behind, so I sent back him back home and gave him some time, he’s doing better.”

Emancipation: The 3-year-old full-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Orb won his debut at Belmont in June but finished fourth early in the meet. “I sent him home. Bone bruising. He’s going to be fine.”

Cover Model: By War Front out of Daydreaming, the bay filly will arrive at Fair Hill next week. “She got a little ahead of herself so we backed off. They have four or five 2-year-olds that should be OK. They have a real, real nice foal crop. I told them this is going to be a two- or three-year project, Seth (Hancock) is helping us out a lot, we listen to him, when it comes to the breeding.”

Inspector Lynley: Four-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid won last year’s Saranac. “He’s turned out. He got the bone bruising, he’ll be back, he’s a nice horse. He was struggling, when we got up here, I sent him for a bone scan, we’ll give him 60 days and start him back. With bone bruising, they don’t get pressure in their joints, they won’t run through it, any of them I’ve had.”