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McGaughey Happy With Orb's Training at Fair Hill

Sitting in his office at the Oklahoma training track Monday morning, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey reached over and rapped twice on his wooden desk for luck when asked about his Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, who remains at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

 

Owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable, Orb took up residence at Fair Hill on June 9, the day after finishing third in the Belmont Stakes. He has breezed three times since his arrival, including a half-mile in 49.20 seconds on July 20, as he trains up to the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on August 24.

 

“Orb’s doing really good,” McGaughey said. “I was down there Saturday when we worked him, and I thought he did great. He looked great, his attitude’s perfect. As of today, all systems are ‘go.’ He was going down there for two weeks, and he’s been there for [six] now, so he must be doing something right.”

 

McGaughey has taken advantage of the facility at Fair Hill, which includes a hyperbaric chamber, cold water spa and water treadmills for horses, as well as paddocks, rolling hills and wooded walking trails.

 

“A horse can be a horse there,” McGaughey said. “I had never been to that place before, and when I went down there I could see what the situation was. There was no sense in bringing him out of there. It’s in a country-type atmosphere, the track’s good, it’s not crowded and there’s a lot of amenities there that we don’t have here. I think it’s worked out really well; in fact, I went from one horse there to eight.”

 

Assistant trainer and exercise rider Jennifer Patterson is at Fair Hill with McGaughey’s horses, stabled with trainer Bruce Jackson. McGaughey hopes to get in at least two more works before bringing Orb to Saratoga in mid-August.

 

“I got a text from Bruce Jackson yesterday,” McGaughey said. “[Orb] just walked yesterday after working and [the text read], ‘Orb quite fresh this morning.’ Everything’s good. He did so well at Payson Park, but this is Payson Park on steroids with all those amenities.”

 

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