Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and his staff are not strangers to having good horses in the barn. Three years ago, Jazil won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The same year, Invasor took the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) en route to Horse of the Year honors. In 2007, Lahudood upset the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) and won a divisional title.
Now McLaughlin has a budding star in the lightly raced Charitable Man, who will be among the favorites in the $1 million Belmont Stakes June 6. The son of 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid enters the third leg of the Triple Crown following a handy win for owners William and Suzanne Warren in the Peter Pan (gr. II) May 9. He also won the Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park as a 2-year-old.
Art Magnuson, who has served as one of McLaughlin’s assistants since 1993, when the trainer opened his stable, said he never feels blasé about the amount of success the operation has enjoyed.
“We are lucky to have some real nice animals because there are a lot of good horsemen and horses on the grounds here,” Magnuson said June 2 at Belmont Park. “We are very fortunate to have some good horses under our roof, and we think about that often.”
Despite all the experience the stable has in premier races, Magnuson, 44, said the butterflies never cease to exist.
“Last year when Divine Park won the Met Mile, I could hardly stand up as he was loading into the gate,” he said. “With Jazil, I almost fell over when he was at the eighth pole.”
Magnuson, who is quick to praise the efforts of Charitable Man’s exercise riders, Renzo Morales and Pat Correa, as well as McLaughlin’s other assistants, the trainer’s brother, Neal, and sister-in-law, Trish, said the team is feeling energized as the Belmont approaches.
“You do get excited; you can’t help but get excited,” Magnuson said. “I don’t think we are sleeping quite as soundly as usual.”