C.R. "Shug" McGaughey III
Trainer Bios

C.R. "Shug" McGaughey III

Born: January 6, 1951 in Lexington, Kentucky

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 155

Stakes Wins: 26

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

Seventh 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).

Other Grade 1 was the 2012 Maker’s 46 Mile with Data Link.

Won the 2020 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association with Enola Gay during the five-day Summer Meet.


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 $151 million with 2,114 wins through Aug. 10, 2020.

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

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

Click here for his Equibase career record.


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 was 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. Reeve went out on his own in early 2020.