McGaughey Ponders Options for Sightseeing

Trainer Shug McGaughey is surveying the stakes landscape in order to find the right spot for Triple Crown nominee Sightseeing, the Phipps Stable's homebred son of Pulpit seeking his first win of the season.

“As long as he continues to show he's legitimate, we'll nominate to the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II),” said McGaughey. “I'll look at the Aqueduct condition book to see what's in there for him.”

The $750,000 Wood is April 7 at Aqueduct while the $1 million Oaklawn Park fixture falls one week later.

Sightseeing was runner-up to Godolphin Stable's highly-regarded Day Pass in the Nashua Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Nov. 3. In two races this winter he drew the outside post position, including his most recent start when third behind Centennial Farms' Chelokee in a two-turn first level allowance on Mar. 3.

“It had a lot to do with the post, but there were some other things we could have done differently,” said McGaughey. “Edgar Prado said he thought he might have moved a little early because he thought they were going a little easy, but it turned out we got carried out on the turn. He thinks maybe if he waited a little longer he might have done a little better.”

The ever-patient McGaughey is not rushing to get Sightseeing into the Derby fray unless he proves his mettle in a stakes race next month.

“I worry about knocking my horse out or picking the wrong race,” said McGaughey. “I know you only get one chance at the Derby, and nobody wants to run in the race more than me, but there are other races out there too.

“It seems like a lot of horses these days never seem to come out of the Derby the same way. They never get a chance to show what they have after it. On the other hand, there is only one (Kentucky) Derby.”

McGaughey is sizing up potential rivals to help decide where a potential stakes race start would take place.

“I don't think we're going in the Florida Derby (gr. I),” he said. “I think the Wood would be tough, but if Nobiz Like Shobiz didn’t make it to the race for some reason, that race could change. We'll see who comes out of the Rebel (gr. III Saturday at Oaklawn Park) and I guess Stormello could run back there (Arkansas Derby).

“I don't think he would necessarily scare me off since he shipped all the way back to California from here, and would have to ship back to Arkansas. I'd also love to give my horse a chance on the Polytrack at Keeneland.”

McGaughey also reported that Phipps Stable's 3-year-old filly Boca Grande came back fine, despite her disappointing sixth-place finish in last Saturday's $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) in her first start of 2007.

“She just didn't run well,” said McGaughey.

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