04/17/2017 10:06AM

McLaughlin's Saturday one for the books

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Dickinson wins the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley to cap a four-win day at Keeneland for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – What Kiaran McLaughlin accomplished Saturday can best be appreciated through the prism of time.

McLaughlin won with all four of his starters at Keeneland, including in a pair of graded stakes races that ended with a dramatic victory by Dickinson in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes. All four winners are homebreds owned by the Godolphin Racing of Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum.

Keeneland has been hosting horse races for more than 80 years, and only twice before has a trainer won four races in a day. Bill Mott also did it with four starters on April 9, 1995, while Todd Pletcher did it with six starters on April 19, 2008.

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McLaughlin’s historic afternoon began with Tasteful ($5) winning a maiden special weight race and continued with Zennor ($13.40) capturing a second-level turf allowance and Watershed ($12.20) powering to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Ben Ali. Some 90 minutes later, Dickinson ($14.40) overcame midstretch traffic trouble to nail heavy favorite Lady Eli in the shadow of the wire.

It was a thrilling end to a remarkable day, and the scene in the winner’s circle on the Keeneland turf was fittingly jubilant.

“Just unbelievable to win four at Keeneland, especially ending on a Grade 1,” said McLaughlin, who was born and raised in Lexington before venturing further into the racing world in the mid-1980s.

McLaughlin, 56, long has been an eminently likable figure in the racetrack community and beyond. Diagnosed nearly 20 years ago with the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis, McLaughlin has persevered to be a truly outstanding professional and person. He and his wife, Letty, have raised two children, now young adults, and McLaughlin has been quoted as saying: “My first job in life is to be a parent.”

Dickinson, a 5-year-old mare by Medaglia d’Oro, now has won three graded turf stakes in a row and likely will make her next start in the Grade 1 Just a Game on the June 10 Belmont Stakes card, said McLaughlin.