User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
McGaughey wins his way - the right way

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - It's always tougher on a native son.

Advertisement
Grow up in the heart of horse country the way Shug McGaughey did, and there's only one race that ever really matters. McGaughey won big stakes all over the place for the better part of three decades, enough to fashion a Hall of Fame career in the meantime.

But all that success meant only so much without the Kentucky Derby.

``I may not have let anybody know about that but inside, inside that thought was always there,'' McGaughey said Saturday.

Moments earlier, a colt named Orb kicked up the spray with a stretch run through the slop and erased that worry forever. For the longest time, though, the big bay didn't seem to have a chance. Under jockey Joel Rosario, Orb settled way back in the pack early and seemed content to stay there. In an odd way, his patience was a reflection of everything McGaughey is about.

The trainer brought his first challenger to Churchill Downs in 1984, nearly won it with Easy Goer on a similarly slippery strip five years after that - losing to Sunday Silence and Charlie Whittingham - and then practically disappeared from the scene. For all the good mounts McGaughey saddled in-between, he was too respectful of the race and too good a horseman to show up without a real contender.

He came back exactly once after 1989, with Saarland in 2002, and finished 10th. Empty as it made him feel, McGaughey figured it was less painful to be somewhere else on the first Saturday than walk back to the Churchill barns with just another loser. But as the rain fell steadily on those same barns throughout the morning and much of the afternoon, McGaughey took it as an omen.

``I said, `A day like today might have cost me one Kentucky Derby. Maybe it will turn around and help us today,'' he recalled.

The pause that followed almost made it seem like McGaughey was wrestling with his good fortune, like the pragmatist in him wasn't ever going to let go.

``This whole trip has been something that's different for me,'' he resumed. ``I don't know, the last five or six weeks has been as exciting a five or six weeks as I've ever had. And to come here the last 12 days and experience what we did, from the fans to the people that have watched him thrive, and then come over today and see the horse run the race he did, well, it's something I can't put into words.''

Someone asked McGaughey whether he was screaming when Orb hit the finish line.

``I'm not a screamer,'' he replied.

``Even after this?'' came a follow-up.

``Well,'' McGaughey replied, ``when I wake up in the morning, I might scream.''

If anything, that would have been most appropriate for the first 90 seconds of the race, as Orb idled in 16th place, apparently much calmer than his jockey.

``I was really far back,'' Rosario acknowledged afterward. ``I said hopefully he can go faster than that.''

``I was saying maybe I was too far back,'' the jockey added, ``but it was so easy.''

The colt's move around the final turn - when he picked off 11 horses and put himself in the race - said plenty about his trainer, too. McGaughey has been good at picking his spots, at least everywhere but in the Derby. He's second among active trainers in Breeders' Cup wins and 10th among trainers on the career earnings list, having just passed Whittingham.

And just like Orb rolling down the stretch Saturday, once McGaughey gets going, he can be tough to stop.

``I've seen some things that make me think there is more there,'' the trainer replied when the inevitable question about his colt's chances at the Triple Crown popped up.

McGaughey made the case by listing all the things Orb had to overcome to win the Florida Derby, the most impressive being how patient the colt was before he put down the hammer.

``Then to see what I saw today was just ... was something different. I think,'' McGaughey paused again, ``I think we've got our hands on a pretty special horse.''

Orb made winners of two of the sport's most prestigious clans, the Phipps and the Janneys. Neither are Kentucky natives - both made their money long ago on Wall Street - but they never gave up on McGaughey, mostly because they liked the way he approached the sport.

And so, when someone asked McGaughey if there was a right way to run a stable, Ogden Mills ``Dinny'' Phipps interjected, ``Can I answer that instead of Shug? He does it the right way.''

Asked to explain the ``right way,'' Phipps didn't hesitate.

``Take your time,'' he said. ``Let the horse bring you to the race.''

It couldn't have been tougher for McGaughey to do it that way, but for once, it didn't matter. The right way is the only way he knows.

---

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press, Write to him at jlitke(at)ap,org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Dempsey: At the Gate - Sunday
Bayern wins Pennsylvania Derby
Artemis Agrotera wins Gallant Bloom
Acini Di Pepe rolls in Monmouth feature
Rosewhitenblue wins at Los Alamitos
Game On Dude retired after loss streak
Santa Anita adds two days to fall meet
North Slope pulls upset at Belmont
Limelight Beach wins Little Brown Jug
MORE HEADLINES
 
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqueduct or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry everyday with daily picks from Aqueduct and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $14.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest