Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Younger McGaughey ‘Has A Real Passion’ For The Horses

Less than two full years after striking out on his own, trainer Reeve McGaughey is keeping the family name alive and well by sending his first graded stakes winner across the wire at Aqueduct Racetrack.

A homebred for Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck) and Andrew Rosen, 3-year-old Bees and Honey (by Union Rags) sailed clear of her rivals by 2 3/4 lengths in the Comely Stakes (G3) on Nov. 26. The victory—while not entirely unexpected by McGaughey—helped end the month on a high note for the young trainer whose budding stable is already revving up for more in 2022.

“Going into the race everyone was pretty confident because she was doing well,” said McGaughey. “We had a good feeling that she would like the distance and the racetrack. The way the race shaped up it looked like we had a chance to get black type on her and we would see what happened from there.

“It was fun, but it was almost a little bit of a relief. I certainly enjoyed it. Hopefully, there will be more wins behind it, but it was really nice to get that one.”

From an early age, there was never any real doubt that McGaughey would choose a career that led him too far from the backside. The son of Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and the nephew of Charlie LoPresti, who trained two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, McGaughey’s life has always been inextricably tied to Thoroughbred racing.

“He is my nephew, but in the years he worked for me I don’t think I had anybody that worked as hard in the barn as he did,” said LoPresti, for whom McGaughey worked as an assistant for five years. “He has a real passion for it. All the help respected him so much because he is the first one to jump in and helped. He’s an incredible horseman and I was proud for him to be with me. He was like my right and left arms to tell the truth.”

After leaving LoPresti, McGaughey worked in his father Shug’s barn until 2020. His decision to strike out on his own came within months of the announcement that LoPresti would retire from racing after almost 30 years—a move that would prove fortuitous for both uncle and nephew.

“It worked out well when I retired that he wanted to go out on his own, so he took most of everything that was in my barn,” said LoPresti. “The horses went, and the help went too because they respected him so much.

“His dad being a Hall of Fame trainer gave him a lot of advice, but I think the advice I had for him was to not get too big and to really concentrate on the horses. But I didn’t need to tell him that. He’s a hands-on horseman. That’s the way he is and the way he’s always been. It was a perfect fit and we’re so proud of what he’s accomplished.”

McGaughey’s first win came July 25, 2020, when Nathan Detroit (Union Rags) broke his maiden on debut at Ellis Park. The horse was bred and owned by Joe Allen, a client of his father.

“A good portion of my clients are ones I knew from working with my dad who have also been clients of his, but I also work for a fair amount of people I didn’t have a previous relationship with until I started out,” said McGaughey, who continues to build out his stable. “A couple people I work the sales for and a few just send me the horses that they have. It’s a mix.”

These days, McGaughey has 25 horses in his barn split between Kentucky and Florida. Ten of those horses currently reside at Tampa Bay Downs with his assistant, while the other 15 remain at Keeneland with him. His statistics through Dec. 17 stand at 24-23-23 from 172 starts with $1,188.054 in earnings.

While Bees and Honey might be his only stakes winner to date, McGaughey feels he has plenty of promising runners to keep him busy on and off the track in the coming months. While he’s happy to revel in his recent success, he has no plans to rest on his laurels.

“We have a nice 3-year-old filly who will turn 4 named Texas Shuffle (War Front). We’ve also got a 3-year-old turning 4 named Charles Chrome (California Chrome), he’s stakes-placed and he’s coming back off a freshening this winter. He’s just now starting back. We also have a few young ones that haven’t run yet that we’re just getting going with, but they look like they’ll have talent.”

“He (Reeve) knows how hard the game is. It has its ups and downs,” said LoPresti. “He’s had some tough times and now he’s having good times but that is the way the business is. He knows the game because he’s been around it since he was a little boy, so he knows how it all works.”

The post Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: Younger McGaughey ‘Has A Real Passion’ For The Horses appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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