04/22/2013 11:45AM

Keeneland: Trophy Wife returns for McGaughey


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The good news: It has been a productive spring in his home state for Hall of Fame trainer and Kentucky native Shug McGaughey.

Even better news: The best may be yet to come.

McGaughey already has sent out horses such as Hungry Island, Reflecting, Data Link, Reload, Imagining, and Boisterous for big runs at the Keeneland spring meet, but that might all be mere foreshadowing for what is right around the corner with Point of Entry in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and a colt named Orb in a certain race on the same May 4 card at Churchill Downs.

While Orb – quite possibly the favorite for the 139th Kentucky Derby – arrived early Monday at Churchill following a van trip from Payson Park in south Florida, McGaughey was tending to regular business with the rest of his prodigious stable, including a filly named Trophy Wife, a Phipps Stable homebred who also made the overnight trip from Florida and will return to the races Wednesday at Keeneland after a layoff of 6 1/2 months.

Trophy Wife, with Javier Castellano to ride, will break from the rail post in the second and richest of two allowances on a program that starts the final three-day span of the 16-day spring meet. In her most recent appearance on opening weekend of the 2012 Keeneland fall meet, Trophy Wife was a sharp second under identical conditions that govern the $62,000 feature Wednesday, those being a second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The feature goes as the eighth of nine.

Trophy Wife, a dark bay 4-year-old filly by Giant’s Causeway, is listed as the 8-5 favorite in a deep and oversubscribed field of fillies and mares. After 11 recorded workouts at Payson, the filly should be fit enough to deal with the likes of Dame Marie, English Class, and Assateague, all of them solid threats in case Trophy Wife isn’t quite tight enough.

Winning team not done yet

The Wednesday card begins at 1:05 p.m. Eastern with a $31,000 starter-allowance in which Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Mike Maker, and Joel Rosario – easily the winningest owner-trainer-jockey team at the meet – could further assert their dominance with heavily favored Bernie the Maestro.

The Ramseys broke the record they previously shared for most winners at a Keeneland meet when Scealeile won the first race Saturday, giving them their 13th this spring. The Ramseys won four more Saturday and Sunday, giving them 17 into this final week. They will extend their new record with every subsequent winner through the end of the meet Friday.

Likewise, Maker, with 16 wins, not only is assured of a tie for most wins at a spring meet (Todd Pletcher, 2005), but also is nearing the all-time record for wins (22) at any Keeneland meet set by his former boss, D. Wayne Lukas (fall 1989).

Rosario was shut out Sunday but still stands a solid chance to equal or surpass the spring-meet record of 32 wins by Randy Romero, set in 1990. The all-time Keeneland record for wins at a meet is 45, set by Pat Day (fall 1991).