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Shug McGaughey

Claude R. (Shug) McGaughey III

Cindy Pierson Dulay
As trainer for the Phipps family for nearly 20 years, Shug McGaughey has trained six champions. Earlier, he had conditioned older male champion Vanlandingham for Loblolly Stable, and in 1991 he trained older distaff champion Queena for Emory Hamilton. McGaughey’s champions for the Phippses include Personal Ensign, which he directed through an unbeaten career of 13 races over three years, bringing her back twice from lengthy layoffs ready to win each time. Personal Ensign’s career was climaxed by her narrow victory over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. This was one of eight Breeders’ Cup victories for McGaughey, whose others include back-to-back wins in the Breeders’ Cup Mile with Claiborne Farm’s Lure and the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with (then) unbeaten Storm Flag Flying. Twice he has won two Breeders’ Cups on the same day.

With Hall of Fame member Easy Goer, McGaughey won the juvenile championship of 1988 and the next year added a series of the most prestigious Eastern races, including the Belmont Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Travers, Whitney, and Woodward. McGaughey has won three Jockey Club Gold Cups and three Travers runnings. In addition to those named above, his champions are Rhythm, Heavenly Prize, and Inside Information. His other major runners include Coronado’s Quest, Dancing Spree, My Flag, Versailles Treaty, Seeking the Gold, Glitter Woman, Educated Risk, Miner’s Mark, Dispute, Awe Inspiring, Polish Navy, Classy Cathy, and Try Something New. Other important events he has won include the Alabama, Kentucky Oaks, Spinster, Frizette, Matron, Go for Wand, Oaklawn Handicap, Acorn, CCA Oaks, Haskell, Wood Memorial, Ashland, Jim Beam, Ruffian, and Beldame.

On Oct. 16, 1993, McGaughey won three grade I races and two grade III races when Miner’s Mark won the Jockey Club Gold Cup; Heavenly Prize the Frizette; Dispute the Beldame; Strolling Along the Realization; and Lure the Kelso Handicap. Through 2003, he had 5,744 starts, 1,363 wins (24%), and $82,731,027 in earnings. He had won 237 graded stakes (21%) and a total of 311 stakes (20%). McGaughey was voted the Eclipse Award for trainer in 1988. He has been New York’s leading trainer in percentage of wins three times and has led standings at Belmont Park and Saratoga.

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