"He would be suited to the Breeders' Cup Mile because of his running style," McGaughey said. "He'd be back, because there would be a lot going on up front, so that's what I have in mind."
Ironicus, owned by Stuart Janney, III, enters the mile Fourstardave off a 1 1/4-length score in an optional claimer July 8 at Belmont Park. The son of Distorted Humor has shown marked improvement as a 4-year-old, netting three wins and a second-place finish from four starts. He will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 3 under an assignment of 118 pounds.
"I hope (he's got more to show). That's what I'm planning on," McGaughey said. "I think he's a very, very good horse, so we'll have just have to wait and see if he keeps climbing up the ladder (and) where it all pans out."
Two starts ago, Ironicus proved he was ready to take on the division's elite with an eye-catching triumph in the Longines Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico Race Course. The gray colt sat well off a moderate pace and steamrolled the field in the stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths.
"That was his breakthrough. He put it all together and it all worked," McGaughey said of the Dixie. "He's always been a nice horse. It was just a matter of him getting it all together and learning. He ran a couple times (as a 3-year-old), then was off for a good while. We've always thought he had ability."
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will send out two runners, including defending champion Seek Again, who hasn't raced since finishing third in the June 13 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.
Seek Again, a chestnut son of Speightstown, was ultra-impressive taking last year's edition of the Fourstardave. The Juddmonte Farms color-bearer was bottled up for most of the stretch before surging late to prevail by a neck over Grand Arch.
Seek Again failed to hit the board in three subsequent tries, including a fourth-place finish in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs in his 2015 debut, before closing mildly in the Shoemaker. He will break from post 5 with Julien Leparoux aboard.
Mott will also send out multiple graded stakes winner Vyjack, a half-brother to grade I winner Tepin. Since joining the Mott barn two starts ago, Vyjack has finished second in the grade III Poker and third in the Forbidden Apple at Belmont in his first two tries on turf.
Junior Alvarado has the mount aboard Vyjack, the 126-pound highweight in a group of 10, and the duo will depart from post 7.
The meet's leading trainer, Todd Pletcher, will also saddle a pair of runners: grade I miler Jack Milton, and Mshawish, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Dubai Turf (UAE-IT).
Owned by Gary Barber, Jack Milton enters the Fourstardave off a ninth-place finish in the June 6 Knob Creek Manhattan (gr. IT). Earlier this year, the 5-year-old son of War Front won the Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland by 2 1/4 lengths before finishing second in the Turf Classic via disqualification.
Jack Milton drew post 8, and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
A globetrotting son of Medaglia d'Oro, Mshawish flourished over the winter at Gulfstream Park, where he won three stakes in a row, culminating with a narrow triumph in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT). After his breakthrough victory, the dark bay 5-year-old made a return visit to Dubai, and improved upon his fourth-place finish from a year ago in the Dubai Turf, despite finishing five lengths behind Solow.
Unraced since March 28, Mshawish will have the services of Hall of Famer John Velazquez from the rail.