05/05/2010 11:00PM

Uptowncharlybrown to McLaughlin


OCEANPORT, N.Y. - Stakes-winning 3-year-old Uptowncharlybrown has been transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and will be pointed to the Belmont Stakes on June 5, the head of the colt's ownership group said Thursday.

Uptowncharlybrown was trained by Alan Seewald, who died unexpectedly April 12 at age 62. Seewald's assistant, Linda White, was the trainer of record when Uptowncharlybrown finished third in the Grade 2 Lexington on April 17.

Bob Hutt, the managing partner of Fantasy Lane Stable, which owns Uptowncharlybrown, had initially hired Tim Ice to train Uptowncharlybrown and the rest of Fantasy Lane's horses. Hutt said "a lack of communication" between him and Ice ended the relationship before it began.

Uptowncharlybrown vanned from Monmouth Park to Belmont on Wednesday and galloped 1 3/8 miles over the main track Thursday. McLaughlin said Uptowncharlybrown is scheduled to work Saturday morning and that Rajiv Maragh would ride Uptowncharlybrown in the Belmont.

McLaughlin attempted to buy Uptowncharlybrown privately after his second start, a six-length win in the Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs, but Fantasy Lane wasn't willing to sell.

"Alan was my friend, and it's sad that he's no longer with us," McLaughlin said. "I feel blessed and honored that they chose me, because everybody would have liked to have trained this horse. He's a very nice horse."

While Hutt sent Uptowncharlybrown to McLaughlin, he has left the remainder of Fantasy Lane's horses with White, who had been Seewald's assistant since 2003. White, who also worked for Seewald in the 1980s, was also an assistant to longtime New York kingpin Gasper Moschera.

"As a horseperson, I have every confidence in Linda," said Hutt, who had horses with Seewald for 25 years. "Behind every great trainer, there is a great assistant doing the heavy lifting. Linda works 12 to 14 hours every day. She was [Seewald's] right arm."

Hutt said that for a race such as the Belmont, he wanted someone who had some experience in the Triple Crown races. McLaughlin won the 2006 Belmont with Jazil.

"I have a fiduciary responsibility to the partners for Charly to be the best he can possibly be in his 3-year-old year," Hutt said. "The right thing is for Charly to be with Kiaran. Kiaran has been very gracious to the Seewald family, and I'm praying to God this story has a happy ending."

White, 58, said she never aspired to be a head trainer. She has four other Fantasy Lane Stable horses stabled in Barn 38 at Monmouth Park, with more horses, including several 2-year-olds, on the way. White said she understands why Uptowncharlybrown went to McLaughlin.

"To go with a trainer at that level I understand it," White said. "If he loses, Kiaran's not going to take a hit, whereas Bob and I would have."

Among the horses White will train is Joyce's Angel, a 3-year-old filly named in honor of Joyce de Vogel, who died of cancer last November; R Betty Graybull, a stakes-winning 4-year-old filly; and Writethatdown, a 3-year-old Readthefootnotes colt who soon will make his debut at Belmont, according to Hutt.

"It has been an emotional roller coaster," White said. "The loss of a very dear friend. It transcended employee-employer relationship. I would have been happy to retire on this job."