LOUISVILLE, KY. — Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey is a man who looks like the embodiment of the nickname that is all anybody calls him by. Short and unassuming, he said this week he made an effort to enjoy the run-up to the
But the Hall of Famer knew, really, that there's only one way to truly enjoy the Kentucky Derby: win it.
Running over a sloppy
Orb moved to the front with about 200 yards to go after laying back and surged past longshot Golden Soul to win the $2-million Derby by 2 1/2 lengths and secure the first jewel in horse racing's
McGaughey, a Lexington, Ky., native, is popular among his peers and became a fan favorite as the week wore on. McGaughey was asked a typical post-Derby question: how will winning change your life?
"Well, the way it is going to change my life is I'm not going to have to worry about it anymore," McGaughey said, "because I've worried about it for a while."
Assuming the Orb comes out of the race in good shape, he'll head to Baltimore for the May 18
Orb completed the race in 2:02.89. This was only the seventh time the Derby was run over a track graded as sloppy.
Orb paid $12.80, $7.40 and $5.40 on a $2 bet. Golden Soul, a 38-1 longshot who finished second, returned $38.60 and $19.40, while Revolutionary paid $5.40 to show.
Orb worked through the field under
"I did get a little bit antsy there," McGaughey said of his horse's pause. "But he did go on and finish."
Rosario has dominated Kentucky racing since arriving for his first extended stay six weeks ago. Still, he finished second on two horses for McGaughey earlier this week and, chastened, called to tell the trainer that he had to "look himself in the mirror." A native of the Dominican Republic, Rosario won his first Derby in his fourth try.
McGaughey, who brought three horses to the Derby in the late 1980s but only one since, trains exclusively for the Phipps and Janney families, who have taken a conservative approach to racing their 3-year-olds.
All week, McGaughey said he agreed with that philosophy but could not help but hope that eventually a horse would come along who was unquestionably good enough to run the 1 1/4 miles against stiff competition. He felt Orb was that horse.
Janney's father had entered Private Terms in the Derby in 1988, the year of his death, but was best known for breeding and racing Ruffian, the filly who won all of her races until breaking down in a nationally televised match race in 1975, at Belmont, where Orb's connection hope to be when the final leg of the Triple Crown is run June 8.
A day of firsts for McGaughey, Janney, Phipps and Rosario thwarted others trying to make their own history. Jockey
McGaughey said after the race that he plans to ship Orb to Belmont Park in New York Sunday. He's not scheduled to come to Baltimore until "a few days before the race," Janney said. While McGaughey said he "couldn't wait" to get the colt to the Preakness, Janney said he'd wait to see how Orb fares Sunday before making a final decision.
McGaughey said he thinks Orb has yet to run his best race.
"I've seen some things that make me think there's more there," he said.