C.R. "Shug" McGaughey III
Trainer Bios

C.R. "Shug" McGaughey III

Born: January 6, 1951 in Lexington, Ky.

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 153

Stakes Wins: 25

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 1983 Spinster at Keeneland with Try Something New

First Stakes Win: 1978 Apple Blossom (G2) at Oaklawn Park with Northernette

First Graded Stakes Win: 1978 Apple Blossom (G2) at Oaklawn Park with Northernette

First Career Win: 1976 at Rockingham Park

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass








Living Vicarously



Jenkins Ferry


At Keeneland

Sixth all-time leading trainer by stakes wins (25).

Leading trainer six times (1984, 1993 and 1996 Spring and 1983-1985 Fall).

First Keeneland win came during the 1980 Spring Meet.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 1983 Spinster (G1) with Try Something New, which marked the first Grade 1 victory of his career.

Other Spinster winners are Dispute (1994), Inside Information (1995) and Carriage Trail (2008).

Three-time winner of the Ashland (G1) with Inside Information (1994), My Flag (1995) and Glitter Woman (1997).

Won 2012 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) with Data Link.

Won the 2014 Coolmore Lexington (G3) with Mr Speaker.

Won the 2017 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) with Apple Betty (IRE).


Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.

Triple Crown wins (2): 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) with Orb; 1989 Belmont (G1) with Easy Goer.

Breeders’ Cup wins (9): 1988 Distaff with Personal Ensign (the win concluded her unbeaten 13-race career); 1989 Sprint with Dancing Spree and Juvenile with Rhythm; 1992 and 1993 Mile with Lure; 1995 Juvenile Fillies with My Flag and Distaff with Inside Information; 2002 Juvenile Fillies with Storm Flag Flying; 2005 Distaff with Pleasant Home.

Received the 1988 Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer.

North American career earnings exceed $144 million with 2,037 wins through Dec. 2, 2018.

Recorded 2,000th career win March 3, 2018, at Gulfstream Park when Fly So High won the Davona Dale (G2). 

2017 earnings were $4,105,453 with 54 wins, including the Flower Bowl (G1) with War Flag, Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) during the Fall Meet at Keeneland with Apple Betty (IRE) and My Charmer (G3) with On Leave.

2016 earnings were $4,399,817 with 53 wins, including the Sands Point (G2) with On Leave, Top Flight Invitational (G3) with Carrumba and Fort Marcy with Ironicus.

2015 earnings were $5,928,487 with 52 wins, including eight graded stakes led by the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Whitney (G1) with champion Honor Code.

Trained champions Easy Goer, Heavenly Prize, Honor Code, Inside Information, Personal Ensign, Queena, Rhythm, Smuggler, Storm Flag Flying and Vanlandingham.


Shug grew up in Lexington, where his father, a real estate agent, would signal to the betting clerks at Keeneland that it was OK to let the boy place a bet. Shug attended the University of Mississippi for a while before he began walking hots for his friend David Carr and later became his assistant. He started working as a groom for Hall of Fame trainer Frank Whiteley in 1974 and became an assistant for Whiteley’s son, David, for five years.

He was selected to train for the Phipps Family stable on Nov. 11, 1985, and on Dec. 31 won his first race for them with Erin Bright in the Display (G3).

For the first time during the 2016 Keeneland Spring Meet, Shug's son Reeve oversaw his string at the track.