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Well-Traveled McCarthy Riding High to Start 2017
Laurel’s Leading Rider Ranks 4th Among North American Jockeys in Wins
LAUREL, MD – Blessed with a work ethic to match his natural talent – the same traits his father used to climb from obscurity to more than 2,900 wins and legendary status in the Mid-Atlantic – it’s a given that Trevor McCarthy will be at the racetrack every day.
The challenge is in figuring out which one. So far in 2017, the Laurel Park-based McCarthy has ridden at seven tracks in five states, adding Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct, Parx, Penn National, Keeneland and Turfway Park to his home track.
McCarthy, a month away from his 23rd birthday, has two mounts at Keeneland April 13, including Journey Home in the Appalachian (G3) for Fair Hill, Md.-based trainer Graham Motion. He is named in seven of nine races April 14 at Laurel, which races Fridays to Sundays during the current winter-spring meet which he leads with 50 wins.
“It means a lot, especially when I can ship out of town and go to places like New York and Kentucky and I get to ride for guys like Kiaran McLaughlin and Todd Pletcher and Graham Motion. That’s a huge privilege. I’m just lucky to have the opportunity,” McCarthy said.
“I want to stay busy,” he added. “I like to stay busy. I think if I don’t stay busy then somebody’s not thinking about you. If you keep pushing and you keep trying and keep riding races every day you know you’re going to get better and hopefully do better and build your stock up a little bit and get your name out there.”
Maryland’s leading rider in 2014 and 2016, McCarthy has an eight-win advantage over Horacio Karamanos in the standings at Laurel, and is also first with $1.46 million in purse earnings. His name currently sits fourth among all North American jockeys with 75 wins from 346 mounts, to go along with $2.434 million in purses.
“That’s huge. That’s a big goal. Sometimes, man, you get tired of riding and traveling and you see that and it helps you keep pushing to get getter and try and get closer to maybe be number one [in North America],” McCarthy said. “It’s a huge goal and I’m just trying to work hard at it and go day by day.”
McCarthy, represented by agent Scott Silver, is coming off his seventh three-day afternoon of the meet Sunday at Laurel, where the winter-spring stand runs through Sunday, May 7. Holder of five individual meet titles at Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course, McCarthy has also had nine riding doubles.
He has won six of the first 17 stakes run in Maryland this year, three coming on Jan. 21: High Roller in the Frank Whiteley Jr., Star Super in the Marshua and Winter in the Nellie Morse. Star Super and Winter are trained by Cal Lynch.
“His work ethic is second to none. He’s here every day, he’ll come and work and do whatever you ask him to do. He’s on your team,” Lynch said. “When you’ve got a guy that wants to work and wants to help you, and the feedback he gives when he’s on a horse, he knows how he feels and he can come back and tell you something that can help. He’s great to have on your team.
“He’s a very strong finisher. A good jockey makes you a length here and there, and that’s the difference between winning and losing a lot of these races. When they turn for home I’m comfortable having him up there,” he added. “For a young guy he’s got some experience, and it won’t be for lack of effort on his part if a horse gets beat, that’s for sure.”
Lynch also trains El Areeb, a multiple Grade 3 winner and one of the country’s top 3-year-olds that was knocked off the Triple Crown trail with a knee injury late last month. El Areeb would have been the first Kentucky Derby (G1) mount for McCarthy, whose Triple Crown debut came aboard Bodhisattva in the 2015 Preakness (G1) – his 21st birthday.
“It was disappointing but it was disappointing for everybody – the whole stable, Cal and his boys, my agent and I and my family – but things happen and they happen for a reason,” he said. “Luckily he came back healthy and we can look forward to having him back in the fall.”
Last year, in addition to setting career highs with 274 wins and more than $8.7 million in purse earnings, McCarthy became the regular rider for Maryland-bred multi-millionaire gelding Ben’s Cat, guiding him to two wins from seven starts including his fourth straight Jim McKay Turf Sprint victory. Now 11, Ben’s Cat is nearing his 2017 debut.
McCarthy is within reach of another milestone, 25 wins away from 1,000 for his career. That would put him 1,907 behind his father, Mike McCarthy, who rode from 1982-2002, won multiple meet titles at Delaware and Philadelphia Park and set Delaware’s single-season mark of 218 victories, twice winning a record six races in one day.
“That’ll be super. That’s huge. Sometimes people don’t even win 1,000 races in their career so for me to do it in about five years is awesome,” Trevor McCarthy said. “I’ve always wanted to get close to my dad. Once I hit 1,000 I’ve got to beat him. That’s my goal.
“We’ve had a really good start to the year,” he added. “We had some really nice horses. It was unfortunate with El Areeb; that was pretty exciting for the first couple months of the year. Me and my agent have just been working hard and he’s been doing a really good job getting on the right horses. We’ve just been getting lucky here at Laurel and in Philadelphia, a little bit at Gulfstream and New York. It’s good that we’re kind of staying busy and been getting lucky in the right places and the right races also.”