Lucullan lures back Woodbine Mile winner McLaughlin

Woodbine Communications
September 09, 2019 08:13am
Lucullan lures back Woodbine Mile winner McLaughlin
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA

Shakespeare, Kiaran McLaughlin’s most recent Woodbine Mile entrant, came into that 2007 edition as a Grade 1 winner and played his role to perfection as the 9-5 choice.

Now, a dozen years later, McLaughlin returns with Lucullan, who is coming off his first stakes score in a restricted turf stakes at Saratoga and will looking to prove his mettle in Saturday's renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

“He’s doing very well,” said Kiaran McLaughlin, who conditions Lucullan for the international powerhouse Godolphin. “He’s ready to go. He’s a really nice horse.”

Lucullan did not make the races as a 2-year-old but found his calling when moved to turf for his third start the following year, winning his maiden at 1 1/16 miles and a first level allowance at a flat mile before making his stakes debut in Belmont’s Hill Prince (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.

The Kentucky-bred was beaten a neck there as the runner-up, splitting winner Yoshida and third-place Bricks and Mortar, who have gone on to become multiple Grade 1 stakes winners.

“He showed he had some class,” said McLaughlin.

The son of Hard Spun continued in good form at 4, but saw action only three times before again going to the sidelines.

“He had some issues behind, a hairline cannon-bone (fracture),” said McLaughlin. “The owner was kind enough to take plenty of time.”

That led to a lengthy absence of 14 months before Lucullan resurfaced at Belmont with a sharp allowance score.

“He came back great,” said McLaughlin. “He was ready to take a big step up.”

Following the Lure, McLaughlin began looking toward the Woodbine Mile.

“There was the Bernard Baruch (at Saratoga) but luckily we had another horse for it, Qurbaan, and he won it,” said the trainer.

McLaughlin said the fact that Lucullan gets a break in the weights, carrying 117 points, and the nature of the Woodbine Mile layout also were factors in making this race his target.

“We like that mile, at Woodbine,” said McLaughlin. “We feel like it’s pretty fair. You get stopped, and in traffic, and coming for home things open up if you’re good enough. It’s a long stretch.”

2019 Woodbine Mile (C1)


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