McCarthy’s Ascent In Training Ranks Has Been Steady And ‘Smooth’

Michael McCarthy’s humility came to the fore after he sent out City of Light to a dominating 5 3/4-length victory in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26, 2019.

“This horse is a gift,” the then 48-year-old trainer said. “Amazing.”

Modesty aside, McCarthy is a gift to racing. He added to his growing list of laurels last Sunday at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., when he saddled Smooth Like Strait to an impressive 1 1/2-length triumph in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby, a race the trainer had been pointing to from the get-go.

Next up, if all goes well, is the G1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Nov. 28.

But first things first.

McCarthy is preparing Ce Ce, Speech, Rushie and Rombauer for starts in Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland on Nov. 6 and 7. Already G1 winners, Ce Ce and Speech will be cross-entered in both the Distaff at 1 1/8 miles and the Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs, with Rushie bound for the Dirt Mile and Rombauer for the Juvenile.

Three worked five furlongs Friday morning, Ce Ce and Rushie going in company receiving an identical 59.20 clocking, while Speech breezed with Tembo in the respective times of 1:00.80 and 1:01.

“I’m very pleased with all of their works,” said McCarthy, including Rombauer, who went five furlongs Thursday in 1:03.60. “They’ll have one more breeze here and most likely ship for Kentucky on Nov. 1.”

McCarthy spent some 12 years working for Todd Pletcher before going on his own with a one-horse stable six years ago.

That one horse was provided by Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and McCarthy has steadily and readily moved forward since. In 2014 he won just over $200,000 in purses, doubled that in 2015, doubled it again in 2016 and yet again in 2017.

In 2018, with primary backing from the Eclipse group and Tulsa, Okla., businessman Warren K. Williams Jr. and his wife, Suzanne, McCarthy achieved a personal apex, thanks to City of Light.

The son of Quality Road earned $4 million for his Pegasus romp and put McCarthy on racing’s global map. Not too shabby for a kid who was born in Youngstown, Ohio, moved with his family to Arcadia when he was five, graduated from Arcadia High School, then hit the track’s backstretch, working his way up with the late Doug Peterson and trainer Ben Cecil.

But McCarthy reaped most of his knowledge as a neophyte with Pletcher. “He taught me dedication; total dedication,” McCarthy said. “He leads by example. He’s there from sunrise to sundown. He’s special.”

Said Pletcher: “Michael was a top-class assistant and I’m not surprised that he’s succeeding now that he has his own stable.”

Or in a word, “amazing.”

The post McCarthy’s Ascent In Training Ranks Has Been Steady And ‘Smooth’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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