Michael McCarthy

Taking Stock: City of Light Stars at Keeneland

There are folks who sound like broken records when it comes to first-crop sires, complaining that breeders who use them and buyers purchasing those yearlings at auction are about as foolish as dunk-tank clowns. However, when one of those sires succeeds with his first 2-year-olds, those same people are usually the first to wax eloquent with platitudes, forgetting what they'd said earlier. That's human nature, I suppose. What they forget is that all sires start out with first crops, and there are people on the other end that wildcat for...

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Ce Ce Cuts Back to Earn Breeders' Cup Berth

Southern California-based Ce Ce ventured all the way to Florida to stamp her ticket to the Nov. 6 GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint back at Del Mar. A winner of both the GI Beholder Mile and GI Apple Blossom H. last term, the homebred went winless for the rest of the season, including when fifth in the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff Nov. 7. She cut back and gained some confidence with an Apr. 17 optional claiming win going this distance at Santa Anita, but could only manage fourth--again around two...

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Ce Ce Turns Back in Princess Rooney

Bo Hirsch's Ce Ce (Elusive Quality), a multiple Grade I winner going two turns, will look for her first sprint stakes score when shipping cross-country for a try in the GII Princess Rooney S., a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier, Saturday at Gulfstream. Laid up after a fourth-place run in the GI Acorn S. as a sophomore in 2019, the homebred returned last February at Santa Anita with a sharp allowance score and kept it rolling with back-to-back top-level tallies in the Beholder Mile S. and Apple Blossom...

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Friday's Belmont Stakes Update

• John and Diane Fradkin's GI Preakness S. winner Rombauer (Twirling Candy) worked a half-mile in company Friday on the Belmont Park main track in preparation for the GI Belmont S. Rombauer, trained by Michael McCarthy, was clocked in :50.01 (53/86) beneath John Velazquez over the fast main track. "I was very happy with the work," McCarthy said. "I just wanted him to go ahead and get familiar with Johnny. It seemed like he was well in hand at all times. Johnny asked him to gallop out a little bit going...

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Small Field Set for Santa Maria

A scratched-down field of four, led by co-headliners As Time Goes By (American Pharoah) and Ce Ce (Elusive Quality), will line up in Saturday's GII Santa Maria S. at Santa Anita. The well-bred As Time Goes By, a half-sister to champion Will Take Charge (Unbridled's Song) from the immediate family of Omaha Beach (War Front) and Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), followed a strong second behind Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in the GI Beholder Mile S. Mar. 13 with a blowout, front-running win in the GII Santa Margarita S. Apr. 24....

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An 'Ultra' Compliment to Twirling Candy

Curious how we can always explain what makes a pedigree work once a horse has shown he can actually run. They call it "ex post rationalization" or sometimes "hindsight bias". Working backward from a high-functioning racehorse, you isolate whatever elements of the page flatter your prejudices and methodology, and triumphantly announce that you have found the key to the genetic engine. You could, of course, perform pretty much the same exercise with countless slow horses whose antecedents contain equally plausible elements. Funnily enough, however, we don't bother doing that quite...

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Michael McCarthy Joins Writers' Room

Fresh off the first Classic win of his career with his first Triple Crown starter, trainer Michael McCarthy joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by JPMorgan Private Bank Wednesday morning. Calling in via Zoom from his Santa Anita stable as the Green Group Guest of the Week, McCarthy discussed getting Rombauer (Twirling Candy) to run his peak race in Saturday's GI Preakness S., whether he has any regrets about not running in the GI Kentucky Derby, what he learned from former boss Todd Pletcher and more. "When the horses...

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Michael McCarthy Joins the TDN Writers' Room

Fresh off his first-ever Classic victory in last weekend's GI Preakness S., trainer Michael McCarthy joined this week's TDN Writers' Room to talk on his newly-crowned Grade I winner Rombauer.

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Rombauer, 'France' Ship Safely to Belmont

Classic hero Rombauer (Twirling Candy), who races for John and Diane Fradkin, shipped in to Belmont Park around 10 a.m. Monday ahead of an intended start in the June 5 $1.5-million GI Belmont S. presented by NYRA Bets. The colt earned a 102 Beyer for his GI Preakness S. heroics at Pimlico Saturday for trainer Michael McCarthy. He will be stabled with trainer Jonathan Thomas. Groom Leonel Orantes Aguilar reported that Rombauer had vanned to New York "very well". "It seems like he's in good physical shape," McCarthy said, who...

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The Week in Review: Sorry Bob, It's Not OK

When Bob Baffert told us last week that he thought the positive drug test for Medina Spirit (Protonico) following the GI Kentucky Derby was the result of his having been treated with an anti-fungal ointment, he seemed to be suggesting that the whole thing was an honest and forgivable mistake. No harm, so why the foul? "This has never been a case of attempting to game the system or get an unfair advantage," he said. On that, he's likely telling the truth. That Baffert would use a rather benign corticosteroid...

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Rombauer in Good Order, Ships to Belmont Monday

After a few hours of sleep, trainer Michael McCarthy was back at Pimlico Race Course Sunday morning, quietly talking about Rombauer (Twirling Candy)'s emphatic victory in the 146th GI Preakness S. Saturday and looking ahead to the June 5GI Belmont Stakes. Bred and raced by John and Diane Fradkin, Rombauer rallied to a convincing 3 1/2-length score Saturday and stopped the clock in 1:53.62, the eighth-fastest time since the race distance was changed to 1 3/16 miles in 1925. While McCarthy, 50, acquired plenty of experience in Triple Crown races...

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Solid Field of Nine Set for Twilight Derby

A field of nine, topped by 5-2 morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute), will line up for Sunday's GII Twilight Derby at Santa Anita. Smooth Like Strait, winner of Del Mar's GIII Cecil B. DeMille S. last December and GIII La Jolla H. in August, raced three deep on a hot pace and understandably tired to fourth as the favorite in the GII American Turf S. at Churchill Downs last time Sept. 5. The Cannon Thoroughbreds homebred worked five furlongs in 1:00 (5/37) for trainer Michael McCarthy at Santa...

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