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Mathea Kelley

McLaughlin is Now Carin' For Charly

Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle Uptowncharlybrown for the first time in the Belmont.

So, is Charlybrown gonna get caught? Just you wait and see.


Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin feels Uptowncharlybrown , who was turned over to him earlier this month, is coming up to the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in excellent shape and he has no concerns with the son of Limehouse  getting the mile and a half.


“He’s training great, he covers a lot of ground, and he gallops out strong in his works, so I’m pretty sure he’ll get the distance,” McLaughlin said.


McLaughlin, who named Rajiv Maragh to ride Uptowncharlybrown, is in a similar position he was in 2006, when he captured the Belmont with Jazil. In both instances, neither the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) or Preakness (gr. I) winners were in the Belmont field.


Although McLaughlin the fan would like to see the best horses complete in all three Triple Crown races, McLaughlin the trainer is quite content not to have to contend with Super Saver  and Lookin At Lucky .


“The bookkeeper still pays you the same amount, and it is an American classic and a grade I,” McLaughlin said.


Although it is a bit unusual to make an equipment change in a classic race, especially saddling a horse for the first time, McLaughlin feels it will be in the colt’s best interest to remove the blinkers that he’s worn in his last two races--a fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and a fast-closing third in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II).


It was decided by “Charly’s” late trainer Alan Seewald to add blinkers after a third-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III). When Seewald died unexpectedly shortly before the Lexington, his assistant, Linda White, in whose name Uptowncharlybrown raced at Keeneland, kept them on, and the colt closed fast from 11th to finish third, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths.


“Alan had put the blinkers on because he wanted to put some speed in him, McLaughlin said. “But usually horses under our care seem to show more pace anyway and he had already won without them. Linda White said they weren’t any bid deal and I was just afraid if we kept them on going a mile and a half he might be a little too keen and show more pace than we need him to. He might show a lot of pace anyway, because a lot of our horses do.


“Even without the blinkers, he’ll be close. Going that distance he won’t be far back, as he was in the Lexington. It would be nice to see him laying third or fourth, but he might be closer than that.”


Seewald’s death was a devastating blow to the members of the colt’s Fantasy Lane Stable partnership, especially to its founder Bob Hutt, who had been a close friend of Seewald’s for 25 years.


Hutt toyed with the idea of giving the horse to Tim Ice, who won last year’s Belmont with Summer Bird, but decided to go with McLaughlin.


“Alan was a friend of mine,” McLaughlin said, “and I tried to buy the horse after his second start (a six-length romp in the Pasco Stakes). Bob Hutt realized I liked him a lot, and when we talked after the Lexington he decided to send the horse to me.”


Uptowncharlybrown, who is out of the Langfuhr  mare La Iluminada, was bred in Kentucky by Juan Bruno and Rose Hill Farm and was purchased at the 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.'s 2-year-olds in training sale for $57,000.