Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey has won many of the sport's top prizes
including classic and Breeders' Cup races, but the Hall of Fame trainer
would consider the Arlington Million as one of his crowning achievements
should Boisterous win on Saturday.
"I'm dating myself with this, but I was there for the first one, and I
think it's a great race," McGaughey said Tuesday. "I was training at
Arlington that summer and they said, 'We're going to run a
million-dollar race,' and that was the craziest thing I ever heard. It
would be a nice race for me or anyone else to win."
Boisterous will be a part of a busy Saturday for Shug, who will be at
Saratoga saddling Sea Island in the Grade I Alabama Stakes and Point of
Entry in the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational. The Sword Dancer is
also for turf males, and McGaughey said it has been his plan all along
to point the Phipps Stable homebreds—Boisterous and Point of Entry—to
different Grade I races this summer.
"I wanted to keep them separated but in good company also," McGaughey
said. "Boisterous had a nice work [on Monday]. He seems to be coming
into the race good; he'll be a factor."
Although McGaughey wants to keep Boisterous and Point of Entry away
from each other in the starting gate, he has worked them together. The
pair went five furlongs together in 1:00.40 on August 7 at Saratoga but
worked separately on Monday.
Boisterous has two wins from four starts at the Million distance of 1
¼ miles, and McGaughey said he would like new jockey Jose Lezcano to
have Boisterous closer to the pace than in the Grade III Arlington
Handicap when behind 11 lengths through a half in :48.40.
Boisterous is McGaughey's third Million entrant, but he would only be
the trainer's second starter. McGaughey scratched Lure in 1993 because
of soft ground and saddled Good Reward to an eighth-place finish in 2005
on yielding going.
"Lure was the morning line favorite, but he didn't favor soft turf,
and when I got there that day it had been raining as hard as it could
all day, so we had to scratch," McGaughey said. "Good Reward didn't like
the softer turf either, but Boisterous would like it. Soft would be
fine with us."
The course is unlikely to be rated as soft come Saturday afternoon,
but forecasted rain for mid-week could give the turf that "give"
"A little bit of give would help," McGaughey said. "It was hard in
the (Grade I) Manhattan, and [Boisterous] finished fast, but he doesn't
have quite the same kick when it's hard. It doesn't have to be soft, but
we want a little bit of give."
Boisterous arrives on Thursday.