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Cugino Speeds to Stakes Win in Churchill’s Audubon / Sunday, June 2, 2024

Cugino went coast to coast on Saturday for a well-deserved stakes win in the $275,000 Audubon on the turf at Churchill Downs. He joined Vahva (in the $1-million, Grade 1 Derby City Distaff), O Besos (the $200,000 St. Matthews) and Atomic Blonde (the $234,500 Keertana) as stakes winners for West Point at Churchill this meet.

The bay colt broke sharply for jockey Flavien Prat and bounded to the front, opening up a clear advantage and on top by 3 lengths heading into the stretch of the 9-furlong event for straight 3-year-olds. With Flavien finding plenty more, Cugino poured it on late to prevail by 4 1/4 lengths.

Shug McGaughey trains Cugino, a son of Twirling Candy out of stakes winner Adorable Miss, by Kitten’s Joy.

Flavien Prat said, “He broke very well and I was able to get to the front pretty easily. He traveled very well and had a lot left down the lane.”

Reeve McGaughey, the son and assistant to his father, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said, “I think the blinkers have helped him keep focus and has really made him step up his game. We put them on him last time and he ran a good race but I think the inside post today helped him a little more.”

West Point and Jimmy Kahig Racing acquired Cugino at the 2022 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was bred by Gage Hill Stable and W. S. Farish. West Point also campaigns his older half brother, Battle of Normandy, who is a Graded stakes-placed runner for McGaughey.

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