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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

McGaughey, Orb Connections Go Way Back


Shug McGaughey's career has taken several paths that lead to Orb, and his relationship with owners goes back a long way, too.

McGaughey is esponsible for the development of Orb's first two dams, Lady Liberty and Mesabi Maiden, and he has connections to the black-type family of stakes runners going back to Orb’s fifth dam, Laughter.

McGaughey recalled, “Lady Liberty was a nice filly, but we just couldn’t get it done for her to win a stakes race. She just didn’t have the closing kick like Orb. Mesabi Maiden was a good filly and won the Black Eyed Susan Stakes on a muddy track  and placed in several other graded stakes.”

Orb is a homebred for Dinny Phipps' venerablePhipps Stable and Stuart Janney III, and their lineal and extended family
's connections with McGaughey span decades.

McGaughey has trained as many as five generations of horses bred by the Phipps family since coming on the job over 27 year ago, including highly-productive offspring of Personal Ensign.

McGaughey guided the daughter of the Phipps’ stallion Private Account through an unbeaten career of 13 starts, climaxed by her thrilling victory over Winning Colors in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs in 1988.

Laughter was a 3-year-old of 1970 and won four of 12 starts for Hall of Fame trainer Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr. Laughter was bred and raced by Janney’s parents in their red and white colors under the stable name Locust Hill Farm, the same colors Orb will carry in the Florida Derby.

Two years after Laughter was foaled, her three-quarters sister Ruffian was born and went on to her legendary, ill-fated career in 1974-75. Laughter was left to carry on for the sisters’ family as a broodmare.

Laughter’s 1985 colt was named Private Terms. Trained by Charlie Hadry, Private Terms raced undefeated in his first six starts, including the Grade I Wood Memorial. But he was never a factor in the 1988 Kentucky Derby.

Laughter’s 1986 filly foal named Laughing Look was unraced but made her name as a broodmare. Her 1995 colt, Coronado’s Quest, was developed by McGaughey for Janney in 1998 to be a major player in the 3-year-old division that season. Coronado’s Quest was impressive winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but his connections passed on the Kentucky Derby.

Coronado’s Quest was pointed to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. After post positions were drawn, he was installed the 6-to-5 morning line favorite, only to be scratched by McGaughey.

“He was off behind and had a bruised foot," said McGaughey, who went on to saddle Coronado's Quest for major victories in the Grade I Haskell and Grade I Travers.

Janney’s great aunt, Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps, won the Preakness with Bold Ruler in 1957 using trainer ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons on the way to Horse of the Year honors. His uncle, Ogden Phipps, bred and raced two colts that finished second in the Kentucky Derby. Dapper Dan was runner-up to Lucky Debonair in 1965. And then there were the highs and lows during the career of Easy Goer.

 The son of Alydar was a 3-year-old in 1989 after winning the Eclipse Award in a 2-year-old season that concluded with a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over a muddy Churchill Downs track. He finished second again to Sunday Silence in the Kentucky Derby.

“They ran the race in 2:05 and the track was kind of greasy, and he just didn’t handle it," McGaughey said. "He came back and ran a good race when he got beat a nose by Sunday Silence in the Preakness and then won the Belmont Stakes impressively.

“These races are very important to me and to them, but not just to run in them. We’ll only go with the right kind of horse with a chance,” McGaughey said. “Orb doesn’t necessarily have to win the Florida Derby to go to Kentucky, but he has to run the right kind of race.”

Edited Gulfstream Park release
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