Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey sent out a fearsome foursome of
workers on Sunday to gear up for upcoming graded stakes at Belmont Park.
Three of the Sunday breezers are targeting Grade 1 races on September
29, with TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup contender Hymn
Book covering four furlongs in 48.33, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Invitational hopeful Point of Entry
traveling four furlongs on grass in 49.03, and Flower Bowl Invitational
probable Hit It Rich cruising
three furlongs in 36.71. Boisterous,
who is aiming for a title defense in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker, worked in
company with Point of Entry and also received a time of 49.03.
“They all have chances, I think,” said McGaughey.
“Hit It Rich has always sort of been an inch below, but I think one of
these days I think she is going to step up and not be an inch below.”
McGaughey said he is looking forward to racing Hymn Book at Belmont, where he has won
a pair of overnight stakes and twice finished second in the Grade 2 Suburban
Handicap. Hymn Book, who races for Stuart Janney, III, was fourth in the Grade
1 Whitney Invitational Handicap on August 4 at Saratoga Race Course.
“Hymn Book’s races here have always been good, and if he
gets away well and is in the race then I think he’ll have a big chance
[in the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup],” said McGaughey. “He’s
doing really well, so we’ll see. If he’s not good enough,
we’ll find an easier spot for him. The last two years I took him to Saratoga, and he just
didn’t do that well up there. I think he likes it a lot better here over
this bigger track. Maybe it’s a little softer, too, because he’s
always trained well at Payson [Park Thoroughbred Training
Center in Florida].
“He was closing here going a mile and an eighth, so [the extra
distance] might end up helping him while it might hinder some of the others.
He’s bred to run that far, so I don’t think that will get in his
way. I think he’s put on weight down here, and I think he trains a little
bit better over this track and moves better.”