McLaughlin stars peaking at the same time

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 31st, 2016

One of the best in his craft for a long time, Kiaran McLaughlin has endured a ton of success in his training career, saddling graded stakes winners for more than 20 years. The 55-year-old conditioner has been lucky enough to train sensational runners such as champions Invasor and Lahudood, and classic winner Jazil to name just a few. In addition, McLaughlin has been in the top 20 in year-end rankings by earnings each year dating back to 2004.

The conditioner is as well respected as any in the industry but 2016 looks like it might be his best, thanks to a pair of special runners.

Frosted is the leading handicap horse on the East Coast after rolling home to impressive wins in the Met Mile (G1) and Whitney H. (G1) in succession, and he is a prime-time player pointing towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in early November. The gray Tapit colt enjoyed a fine sophomore campaign but had the misfortune of being in the same crop as a horse named American Pharoah. I didn't know what to expect when he came back this season but Frosted appears to be peaking at age 4.

Following a sublime 14 ¼-length drubbing of his Met Mile foes in June, the versatile Kentucky-bred led throughout in the Whitney, posting stout BRIS Speed figures of 109 and 105, respectively. Frosted is lightly raced with just four runs this season that have been spaced out well and the Godolphin homebred promises to add more class to a Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) this fall that could be among the best ever at Santa Anita.

Cavorting is one of the more underrated fillies in training in my opinion and has never been better, either. The four-year-old Bernardini filly is 8-for-13 in her lifetime, recording graded wins at 2, 3 and 4, at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. We love the trend the improving bay shows, with increasing BRIS Speed numbers in each race this year, and Cavorting has proven to be way more than a Saratoga horse-for-course, steamrolling a pair of strong fields at Belmont Park, too. The Stonestreet Stables’ color bearer should also be relatively fresh in November with only four races under her belt this season and she ran well when a close third in the La Brea S. (G1) in the winter at Santa Anita in her lone try at the venue.

With this dynamic duo peaking at possibly the right time, the only question that remains to me is – will McLaughlin be “cavorting” after the 2016 Breeders’ Cup?