Flying Fortress, Good American Meet in $100,000 Via Borghese
Stablemates Mark First Gulfstream Starters for Reeve McGaughey
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stablemates Flying Fortress, exiting her first graded-stakes attempt, and Good American, racing in the U.S. for the first time, will line up against each other and six rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Via Borghese at Gulfstream Park.
The seventh running of the 1 3/8-mile Via Borghese for fillies and mares 3 and up is one of two stakes over Gulfstream’s new turf course on the 11-race program, followed by the $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens for 3-year-olds and up going two miles.
First race post time is 12:10 p.m.
Joseph Allen homebred Flying Fortress and Andrew Rosen’s Good American represent the first starters at Gulfstream for Reeve McGaughey, the son of Hall of Fame horseman Shug McGaughey and nephew of Charlie LoPresti, best known for training two-time Horse of the Year and 2020 Hall of Famer Wise Dan.
“They’d be my main influences, really, throughout my lifetime and certainly on the racetrack,” Reeve McGaughey said. “This is what I grew up wanting to do.”
The 33-year-old McGaughey’s five years as an assistant with LoPresti coincided with the Wise Dan years. When he was retired following the 2014 season, McGaughey returned to working for his father before going out on his own, starting his first horse Feb. 2, 2020 and picking up his first winner, Franknjymme – bred by LoPresti and owned by his wife, Amy – March 19, 2020 at Oaklawn Park.
McGaughey notched his first stakes win with Fact Finding in the 2020 DTHA Governors Day Handicap at Delaware Park, and picked up a graded triumph last November with Bees and Honey in the Comely (G3) at Aqueduct. He is overseeing a string at Gulfstream for his father, who is serving days and scheduled to return Dec. 19.
“I’ve been training for a couple years and I kind of wanted to go back to helping my dad for a few more years and I’ll probably start training again whenever the time comes,” said McGaughey, who has 28 wins and more than $1.3 million in purse earnings from 238 starters.
“I’ve been lucky,” he added. “When I was with Charlie he had a pretty strong stable with four or five really nice horses. The years I’ve spent working with my dad we’ve had quite a few nice ones and, usually, most of the other ones have the chance to be nice.”
Flying Fortress dueled on the front end with Beside Herself in the 1 ½-mile Dowager (G3) Oct. 23 at Keeneland before finishing fifth, three spots and more than three lengths ahead of Todd Pletcher-trained Beside Herself, who also returns in the Via Borghese.
“We all thought she ran pretty well given the circumstances of the race. She got hooked up early with Todd’s filly and they just battled each other really into submission,” McGaughey said. “But she did well to hold on and only get beat as little amount as she did. This go around we’re hoping to get her to relax and rate so, hopefully, if somebody wants to go she can just sit right off of them.”
Flying Fortress, by champion Uncle Mo, was a neck shy of being unbeaten in her other three starts this year that included allowance wins at Laurel Park in April and Colonial Downs in August.
“She had a couple good races at Colonial and she’s steadily improved all year long. We expect her to run well,” McGaughey said. “I think she’ll appreciate the distance if she can kind of avoid what happened last time. I don’t think the distance will be an issue, as long as the first part of the race is reasonable.”
A daughter of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, Good American has raced six times in her native England, her lone win coming in her September 2021 debut. In her most recent start she was second, beaten a half-length, in a 1 3/8-mile stakes over the all-weather surface at Kempton Oct. 31.
“She hasn’t been here long. She came into Gulfstream a couple weeks ago and she’s trained well since she’s been here, so I figured we’d go ahead and run her right off the plane, basically. We’ll figure out what to do next once she runs Saturday,” McGaughey said. “It just seemed like a good opportunity for her. Distance wouldn’t be an issue, I wouldn’t think.”
Good American got a look at Gulfstream with a half-mile breeze in 48.94 seconds Dec. 11 over the Tapeta course.
“We worked her the other day and she worked really well,” McGaughey said. “It was her first work over here, she came out of it well and she’s doing well. The last 10 days or so she really seems like she’s kind of turned a corner and has done very well.”
Junior Alvarado will be aboard Flying Fortress from Post 4, while Tyler Gaffalione gets the call on Good American from outermost Post 8.
Michael Tabor’s Beside Herself, also by Uncle Mo, raced three times at Gulfstream last winter, breaking his maiden going 1 1/16 miles Jan. 30 and finishing sixth in the one-mile Herecomesthebride (G3) March 5. She has won two of six subsequent starts and was third in the 1 1/8-mile Regret (G3) June 4.
Stonehaven Steadings’ Champagne Ivy has made 13 of her 17 lifetime starts at Gulfstream with a pair of wins and a third in the 2021 Miss Gracie on turf, but this will be her first race since being claimed for $35,000 out of her most recent effort, a runner-up finish as the favorite Nov. 5 on Gulfstream’s Tapeta.
Victory Racing Partners’ 3-year-old Treasure of War returns to the turf after running second by less than a length against her elders in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer Oct. 31 at Horseshoe Indiana. Both of her wins from six career starts have come over older horses.
Starship Mallomar, Lisheen and Viburnum complete the field.