Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will serve as the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lexington March 15, said his publicist, Kelly Wietsma of Equisponse.
McLaughlin, a native Kentuckian, is a first generation Irish-American, as his parents (Raymond and Judy McLaughlin) immigrated to Lexington from Ireland in the 1950s. They have been involved with the parade since its inception in 1980, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
”He's bringing honor to his local community,” parade chairman Bill Enright told Herald-Leader reporter Mary Jean Wall. ”He's a local who's been quite successful in the horse business, and the horse industry is important to Central Kentucky.”
McLaughlin, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, worked as a jockey agent before landing a position as a trainer for Sheikh Mohammed and his brother, Sheikh Hamdan. During the 1990s, he split his time between the United Arab Emirates and New York before returning to the U.S. in 2003 with a public stable that retained the sheikhs as main clients.
McLaughlin won the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Jazil and took the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) that same year with eventual Horse of the Year Invasor, who also went on to win the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
The trainer is an active advocate for the understanding and research of multiple sclerosis, a disease he was diagnosed with in 1998.
McLaughlin’s brother, Sean, was the parade’s grand marshal last year.