McGaughey Colt Primed for a Breakout Performance

Perform, with trainer Shug McGaughey and assistant trainer Anthony Hamilton, takes on the GI Preakness S. Sara Gordon


At this year's GI Preakness S., Shug McGaughey is aiming to win his own version of the Triple Crown. The Hall of Fame trainer won the third leg of the series in 1989, when Easy Goer famously defeated Sunday Silence in the GI Belmont S., and then Orb (Malibu Moon) earned the Kentucky horseman a GI Kentucky Derby score in 2013.

This Saturday, McGaughey could claim his final Triple Crown jewel with a promising contender in Perform (Good Magic).

On Thursday morning shortly after eight, as Perform walked the Preakness stakes barn shedrow following an easy gallop, McGaughey reflected on the significance of a potential victory at Pimlico.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It's really at the top of my list. I'm very excited about the opportunity and if I could get all three of them it would really mean a lot. Then I could start all over again.”

McGaughey has not had a Preakness starter since Orb ran fourth here 10 years ago.

“I'm excited,” he said. “I like this weekend down here. I think it's a lot of fun. You see a lot of people that you don't see year-round. There's a lot of enthusiasm and I'm glad to be here. I've never won it and if he's standing in the stall, I'm still never going to win it.”

While Perform is coming into the Preakness coming off two straight wins, it took a few tries for the colt's true ability to shine through. After five starts all going a mile or less, he stretched out to a mile and 40 yards at Tampa Bay Downs on Mar. 11 and pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

“His maiden races going short were okay, but then when I stretched him out around two turns, it made a big difference,” McGaughey said. “We ran him at Tampa and Irad Ortiz rode him. He got him to relax really well coming off the sprints and he finished really well.”

McGaughey considered several spots for the colt's next start, but ultimately landed on the Federico Tesio S. going a mile and an eighth at Laurel Park. While Perform took the lead at the top of the stretch in his maiden win, he showed that he could work through traffic at Laurel. After stumbling at the start, the sophomore sat near the back of the field with Feargal Lynch aboard and then weaved through horses late to get up in the nick of time.

Perform acclimates to the track at Pimlico | Sara Gordon

“I listened to Feargul's interview [after the race] and he said it was too bad that the horse wasn't nominated to the Preakness because he's that kind of horse, but I knew something he didn't know,” McGaughey said with a laugh.

Perform is owned in partnership by Woodford Racing, Lane's End Farm, Phipps Stable, Ken Langone and Edward Hudson Jr. When McGaughey approached the group about supplementing their new stakes winner to the Preakness, it was an easy sell.

With 15-1 morning line odds, Perform drew the number six post position for Saturday's race. Local jockey Feargal Lynch retains the mount to take on his first start in the Preakness.

“He rode him great and knows the racetrack,” said McGaughey. “Why not?”

The conditioner explained that he was particularly impressed with Perform's final breeze at Belmont last Sunday going four furlongs in :48.09 (2/44).

Now that Perform has had a few mornings to acclimate at Pimlico, McGaughey said that the track and the distance should fit his colt's running style.

“It should be right in his bread basket,” he noted. “He seems to be getting over the track really well in his gallops and we'll see if he likes it on Saturday.”

Eddie Woods picked Perform out as a yearling, purchasing him for $230,000 out of the Beau Lane Bloodstock consignment at the 2021 Keeneland September Sale for his Quarter Pole Enterprises. The son of Good Magic is out of the Tale of Ekati mare Jane Says, whose second dam is Broodmare of the Year Leslie's Lady (Tricky Creek).

“He was a very strong, well-proportioned horse,” Woods recalled. “He was good-looking with a beautiful head and he was a good mover.”

A few months after the purchase, TDN visited Eddie Woods Stable in Ocala. When asked to predict who would be the top first-crop sires in 2022, Woods mentioned Good Magic as a leading candidate and pointed out the Good Magic colt out of Jane Says, who would later be called Perform, as evidence.



“The Good Magics are very nice horses,” Woods said in February of 2022. “Laid back, kind of Curlin-y type horses. We have a Good Magic out of Jane Says colt who is a beautiful-looking horse…we're real happy with him.”

While Perform went on to breeze in :10 1/5 at the OBS March Sale, he got sick soon after and was forced to scratch from the sale. He went home to the Woods base and had returned to breezing when David Ingordo visited the farm and purchased the colt for the current ownership group.

Eddie Woods Stable was represented by Preakness winner Big Brown (Boundary) in 2008 and this year, their program's graduates include two Preakness contenders in Perform and National Treasure (Quality Road).

Perform is one of three sons of Good Magic entered in the Preakness along with GI Kentucky Derby hero Mage and last year's GI Champagne S. victor Blazing Sevens. Good Magic currently leads the way as the leading second-crop sire.

“He looks like a top-end sire and rightly so,” Woods said of the red hot stallion. “They're all pretty good, high-energy horses. They train well and are very professional about everything.”

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Good Magic's How Did He Do That Gets Best of Blanket Finish in Oklahoma Derby
  2. Saturday Preview: Parx Feature Marks Last Major Derby of the Year
  3. Cantey to be Honored with Leadership Award
  4. 'He Was A Real Man Here Today'–SF, Partners Go For More Good Magic at Keeneland September
  5. Good Magic Colt Hammers For $700K During Book 4 Opener at Keeneland

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.