08/07/2013 8:19PM

Hall of Fame profile: Lure

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Barbara D. Livingston
Lure won back-to-back editions of the Breeders' Cup Mile for Shug McGaughey, beginning in 1992 (above) at Gulfstream Park.

Lure is one of a handful of horses elected to the Racing Hall of Fame who was not a divisional champion during his days on the racetrack. He joins the extraordinary company of such horses as Alydar, Exceller, Majestic Prince, Bold ’n Determined, and Gun Bow who fall into that category.

Though he captured back-to-back editions of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, zipping those eight furlongs in 1:32.90 at Gulfstream Park in 1992 (a course record) and 1:33.58 at Santa Anita Park in 1993, outran just about every middle-distance turf star on the planet, finished first or second in 17 of 18 grass starts, and banked $2,348,893 over that surface, voters somehow did not see their way clear to award him an Eclipse Award statuette. Curious, especially since those who outpolled him for turf male honors in 1992 and 1993 – Sky Classic and Kotashaan – might be waiting a very long time for their own invitations into the hallowed Hall of Fame.

Lure’s deep purple pedigree marked him as racing royalty from the outset. Bred by Claiborne Farm and the late William Haggin Perry’s The Gamely Corp., Lure would become one of 202 stakes winners by three-time leading American sire Danzig. But, alas, he would be the only black-type winner representing his Grade 1-winning dam, Endear, who died by lightning strike a year after his birth.

For Hall of Fame trainer Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey, Lure made his first seven starts on dirt, setting a Belmont Park five-furlong record, then finishing in a dead heat for first with Devil His Due in the 1992 Gotham, then a Grade 2 event. After several more starts on dirt, McGaughey decided to try him on turf, in September when coming back from a brief freshening, and he sprouted wings.

Later that fall at Gulfstream, Lure mauled a star-studded international field in the first of his Breeders’ Cup Mile wins – a race he wrapped up virtually right out of the gate. Just as impressive would be his second Mile score the following year, when he again shamed a field of global champions, highweights, and Grade/Group 1 winners.

Lure retired to stud in 1995 without a title to his name but with the highest of hopes and expectations. Trouble awaited. After a disappointing initial season at Claiborne, where he stood for a reported $50,000 stud fee, the farm filed and cashed an infertility insurance claim with Lloyd’s of London. Coolmore/Ashford Stud then acquired him with hopes of turning his problems around.

Unlike Cigar, Lure could impregnate mares, just not very efficiently. He ultimately averaged just 14 foals in his nine crops, with some tantalizing successes that included French Group 1 winner and now-leading Argentine sire Orpen.

Ashford gave it the good college try but finally threw in the towel in 2003. Late that year, Lure was returned to the farm of his birth, and at age 24, he remains an honored pensioner at Claiborne Farm.

Pedigree: 1989 b. h., by Danzig—Endear, by Alydar
Breeder: Claiborne Farm & The Gamely Corp. (Ky.)
Owner: Claiborne Farm
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Race record: 25-14-8-0, $2,515,289
Graded stakes wins: Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) (twice), Caesars International H. (G1), Gotham S. (G2), Bernard Baruch H. (G2), Elkhorn S. (G2), Kelso H. (G3), Turf Classic S. (G3), Dixie H. (G3), Daryl’s Joy S. (G3)

Michael Spruill More than 1 year ago
My all time favorite.