Trevor McCarthy will shift tack to New York

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Breaking, Business, Regionwide, Top Stories | 2 comments

Ben's Cat

Trevor McCarthy all smiles aboard Ben’s Cat after winning the 2016 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Photo by George Adams.

by Doug McCoy

Trevor McCarthy, one of the most successful and well known jockeys in the Mid-Atlantic the past several seasons, is moving his tack to New York.

McCarthy, who has been sidelined since May recuperating from shoulder surgery, said Monday he will relocate to New York and begin riding regularly on the NYRA circuit at the Aqueduct winter meeting which begins in January. The rider has been cleared to get on horses as early as December 5.

McCarthy has retained well known jockeys’ agent Steve Rushing, who handled Hall of Fame rider Ramon Dominguez during the rider’s time in New York, to represent him. Rushing currently books mounts for Irad Ortiz Jr., who along with his brother Jose, has dominated the rider’s standings in New York for the past two seasons.

Despite being forced to the sidelines several times with injuries in a career that began in 2011, McCarthy has risen to the top of the ranks in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic, winning 1,006 races. McCarthy was the year-long leading rider in Maryland in both 2014 and 2016. He was leading rider at the 2016 and 2017 winter meetings at Laurel, winning 67 races at each meeting, two of the six times McCarthy’s led a meet in Maryland.

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Last season was the best on record for McCarthy, as he won 274 races and his mounts earned more than $8.7 million in purses. He had already won 105 races this year before being injured on May 21. He has enjoyed success with a number of good horses, winning nine graded stakes in his career, and this spring had a Kentucky Derby prospect in El Areeb before the Grade 3 Withers winner was sidelined by injury. Other top runners McCarthy has piloted include Grade 2 Delaware Oaks winner Fortune Pearl and local hard hitters Rose Brier and She’s Hot Wired.

He also rode local fan favorite Ben’s Cat on several occasions, including in the 2016 Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico. That proved to be the final win of Ben’s Cat’s great career.

McCarthy, 23, was born in Wilmington, DE and currently lives in Columbia, MD. But he said he began thinking about the direction his career would take while he was rehabbing from surgery to repair his shoulder injured in a spill at Monmouth this past May,

“Scotty (Silver, McCarthy’s agent) and I had originally planned for me to remain in Maryland through 2018, then ride in Florida that winter and decide where to go from there,” the rider explained. “But then Steve (Rushing) called, we talked things over, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to make the move now. It’s every jockey’s goal to get an opportunity to be among the elite, to get a chance to ride some of the top horses in the business, and there’s only two circuits where you can do that, New York and California. When I found out Steve would be interested in representing me in New York it just made sense to make the move.”

McCarthy said the decision to split with Silver, who has represented the rider since the early days of his career, was a difficult one.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make as a rider and as a person, and it’s heartbreaking personally,” the rider admitted. “Scotty’s not only been my agent but one of my best friends, as well, and someone I look upon like my second father. I wish him nothing but the best, and I know he’ll continue to do well. He’s one of the best agents in the business.”

Silver, who also represents Feargal Lynch, was surprised and more than a little disappointed when McCarthy broke the news to him two weeks ago,

“I was stunned, truthfully,” the agent related. “I had always assumed if Trevor went to New York, I’d go with him since I have a lot of good contacts there. New York was where I started as an agent. But I’ve learned that in this business nothing should surprise you. I’m disappointed we won’t be going to New York together, but I wish Trevor all the best. He’s a top-flight rider, as the people in New York will find out.”

Rushing, speaking from New York, recalled the events leading up to McCarthy’s decision.

“I had heard rumors Trevor was thinking of coming to New York, so I called his dad (former rider Mike McCarthy) to get Trevor’s number,” Rushing explained. “I told them if Trevor was coming to New York and his agent was coming with him, fine, or if he had already contacted another agent here, fine. But if he was serious about coming here and wasn’t bringing his agent, then I’d been interested in representing him. Trevor and I talked several times and he decided to hire me.”

Rushing said he also discussed the situation with Ortiz, and that rider was fine with the arrangement.

“Irad and Trevor know and like each other. I don’t foresee any problems handling both riders,” Rushing said. “They’re both world class jockeys and both are young and hungry. I look forward to the future with both of them.”