Updated on 07/07/2011 12:49PM

Belmont: Boisterous gives McGaughey a shot in Man o' War

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Shug McGaughey hopes his recent hot streak will continue in the Man o' War.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Shug McGaughey’s excellent Belmont Park spring/summer meeting continued Monday when he won two more races, improving his record to 10 wins from 33 starters.

McGaughey hopes the momentum carries over to Saturday’s Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes when he sends out the intriguing Boisterous against Gio Ponti, winner of the last two runnings of the Man o’ War, and Mission Approved, upset winner of last month’s Manhattan.

“It’s a pretty ambitious spot,’’ McGaughey said.

Boisterous, a 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor, has won four of his last five starts, including a second-level allowance race at Keeneland in April and the Three Coins Up Stakes here on May 22. His only loss dating back to last Aug. 26 was a fifth-place finish in an allowance race at Gulfstream when he was wide throughout. Still, he finished fifth, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths.

“I thought his race here on the grass was a pretty good race, so was his race at Keeneland,’’ McGaughey said. “He got into trouble at Gulfstream. This ain’t no easy race.’’

In addition to Gio Ponti and Mission Approved, the Man o’ War drew multiple Group 1 winner Cape Blanco from Ireland as well as Al Khali, Bearpath, and Nownownow.

McGaughey has won three listed stakes at this meet, including the dirt and turf version of the Three Coins Up. Hymn Book won the dirt version of the Three Coins Up and then came back to run second to runaway winner Flat Out in last Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban Handicap.

“He ran into a buzz saw, I thought he ran fine,’’ McGaughey said. “Johnny [Velazquez] felt like he ran great. He said `We started picking it up at the three-eighths pole and I still had a lot of horse.’ He said ‘I thought I was going to win the race and then here this thing comes.’ ’’

McGaughey said he has not set plans for Hymn Book, a 5-year-old gelded son of Arch owned by Stuart Janney.

“We’re just going to try and have some fun with him,’’’ McGaughey said. “If I look up and one of these big [dirt] races falls apart, he’ll be in it. If we get up there and it gets to raining and some of the grass races come off the turf, he’ll be in them.’’

One horse McGaughey is definitely targeting for a graded stakes at Saratoga is Hungry Island, who overcame a slow pace and rallied from last to win the Recording Stakes last Saturday, her third straight victory. McGaughey said Hungry Island would skip the Lake George and point to the Lake Placid Stakes at the Spa on Aug. 21.

“She’s been improving with every start,’’ McGaughey said.

McGaughey noted that as a 2-year-old, Hungry Island was competitive against the likes of Winter Memories and Ruthenia, both of whom have turned into stakes-winning fillies.