HALLANDALE, FLA — HALLANDALE, Fla. -- Shug McGaughey is used to training Grade I winners, not breeding them.
The Phipps family trainer was in New York yesterday, saddling Lure in that colt's seasonal debut.
But it was McGaughey's association with Technology, the surprise winner of the Florida Derby, that sent reporters to his barn yesterday morning at Gulfstream Park.
The listed breeder of the colt is McGaughey, along with John A. Bell III of Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky.
According to Buzz Tenney, McGaughey's assistant, Shug came up with the stallion-mare match that produced Technology.
"The dam, Chief Nefertari, also produced a filly named Last Trump, who won the Test and Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga," Tenney said. "She was sired by Damascus. Shug wanted to breed the mare to a young son of Damascus so that's how he came up with Time For A Change, the sire of Technology."
Time For A Change, a Phipps-bred, is also the sire of Fly So Free, last year's Florida Derby winner, who subsequently finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
Unfortunately , Tenney said, Chief Nefertari died foaling Technology.
Sonny Hine, who trains Technology, said McGaughey had told him that he sold the colt as a yearling on "the advice of his veterinarian."
The colt brought $27,000 in the Keeneland Fall Sale, Hine said, and then was resold to him by Andrea King, an agent, in the Calder Two Year-Old-In Training Sale for $102,000.
"People were kind of laughing at us," Hine recalled. "The colt has locked ankles, which means he only has about 50 per cent flexion in those ankles. But I have had a top horse before that had locked ankles and, to me, it doesn't make much difference. You just can't run them on a heavy track. Technology needs a fast racing strip, and it can be sloppy, and he should make a heckuva of a grass horse."
Hine and part-owner Scott Savin were still savoring the colt's Florida Derby victory yesterday morning.
The horse runs in Savin's name because he is the managing partner in the five-share syndicate that owns him. The other partners are Leslie Legum, of Baltimore; Bernie Mann, of New Jersey; Bob and Al Ades of Long Island; and Harold Rothstein.
Savin said Hine told him early on that Technology is "a special horse. I'm here every morning and Sonny and I have a real close relationship. I've had horses with him for seven years. He's only told me that a horse is special once before, and that was a colt I had named Norquestor."
Technology broke his maiden at Monmouth Park last summer, and then finished third in the Dragoon Stakes at Philadelphia Park. Hine said the horse had a very rough trip that day. "There were six lines in The Racing Form chart describing how he had been roughed up," Hine said.
The horse came out of the race with cuts and bucked shins and did not race for another four months.
In his first scheduled start at Gulfstream on Donn Handicap Day, Feb. 1, Technology broke loose from his groom on the way to the paddock for the third race, ran around the track and was scratched by the stewards.
Technology did not reappear until Feb. 9. He finished second in a six furlong sprint. "[Jockey] Jerry Bailey was in the race and said he got a good rear view of the horse. He told me he should have won by a city block and asked if he could ride him. Jose Santos had been working the horse, but he got hurt [broken collarbone], so I locked up Jerry," Hine said.
Bailey won an allowance race by 7 lengths on the colt the same day Dance Floor won the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Hine said he was hesitant to run the colt back in the Florida Derby "because of his lack of seasoning.
"It really was Jerry's idea to run him. If I told you any differently, I'd be lying. Jerry already has everything mapped out for the Kentucky Derby. He's so involved with this colt, I just hope I don't have to adopt him."
NOTES: Dance Floor was flown to California yesterday morning to join the main string of trainer D. Wayne Lukas. His next start will be in the Blue Grass Stakes. . . . George Gianos, trainer of third-place Florida Derby finisher, Pistols And Roses, said his horse will go next in the Tropical Park Derby "unless we decide to go the Kentucky Derby route. We'll have to assess our horse and his chances against the top competition. He is still immature. He has a peculiar habit of stopping between the half-mile and three-eighths mile poles. Maybe he does it to catch his breath. Then he gets running again in the stretch".