Q and A with Jockey Trevor McCarthy

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, May 6, 2021

This week's The Player's Edge guest sits down to answer questions about his youth and his suggestions to a couple of horse racing's biggest controversies.


HRR: Trevor, there were a lot of things about your adult life you sort of knew as a youngster. What do you remember about your friend at the time, fellow jockey and wife Katie Davis as the two of you played together as kids?


Trevor McCarthy: I remember Katie and I going to friends' and fellow jockeys of my dad's and her dad's barbecues, especially over the Velez's house which both our families were very close with.


HRR: Your dad was a jockey legend at Delaware Park. Was it just a boy wanting to be like his father, something about the races or a combination that had you knowing at a young age that you wanted to be a jockey?


Trevor McCarthy: I would say it was a combination of them all! I always looked up to my dad like he was Superman. I always loved the excitement of the races. I always felt like jockeys were movie stars and I wanted to be one. I love riding horses and even more just becoming one with them. Being around them every day is something I truly love and I had that passion as a young boy.


HRR: Early in your career, you said that riding horses was sort of like dating and that you had to make a big, first impression with your dates and horses. How do you go about making a big impression on your horses?


Trevor McCarthy: I like to make a big impression with my horses by gaining their trust. I like to warm horses up away from the pony, get to know their mouths, bodies, and attitudes. We get to have a one on one before going in the gate, so I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.


HRR: How did you make a big impression on Katie?


Trevor McCarthy: I made a big impression on Katie by my stunning looks and tremendous abs! Just kidding. We started off by being really good friends and then it led to spending more time with each other. Things moved into a relationship slowly until we both realized we really loved and cared about one another.


HRR: One of the biggest horse racing "controversies" of 2020/2021 is the coupling of horses when you and your wife Katie had mounts in the same races. What would you propose to ease any concerns the racing boards may have?


Trevor McCarthy: I think a good way to ease any concerns from the racing board would be to watch us ride races and have a camera and microphone on us when we go home to prove to them how competitive we are.


HRR: Let's stick to horse racing controversies. Riding crops rules must be confusing as all get out for jockeys as they differ from state to state. Do you feel there should be one rule for all tracks? And, if you were making the rules, what would you say the ideal usage of the crop should be?


Trevor McCarthy: Yes, I do feel there should be one rule for all tracks in the U.S. This way, no one has a problem adapting at other tracks. People will also know the rule and penalties behind breaking that rule. If I were to make the rule, I would choose to make it ten times in a up hand position from the quarter pole home and unlimited back hand from the 1/4 to the gate. That seems a bit fairer to me.


HRR: How do you watch races and read the past performances differently as a jockey versus a handicapper trying to pick winners?


Trevor McCarthy: The way I like to study races is to first watch replays of my horse's past races, especially their winning ones. Then, I'll go back and watch their really bad races and see if there was something they didn't like so I can avoid doing that. I also look for horses to follow if they are going to be in front of me and if I am closer to the pace, I look for other horses with the same game plan and try to figure out where I will land and come up with multiple plans.


HRR: Another handicapping question. Much like Churchill Downs, Belmont Park has a long backstretch, making 1-mile races just one turn affairs. Last week at Churchill during Kentucky Derby weekend, it looked like speed ran into a wall in one turn, 1 mile runs but held up by adding just a 1/16 of a mile or more and going around two turns. In your opinion, why does speed hold up better around two turns than one?


Trevor McCarthy: Sometimes, two turns hold up better than one turn. Sometimes, horses switching leads at each turn coming in and out of the turns lengthen their strides and get a good high cruising speed. With a long stretch, those plotters get going late, where switching leads for them is a disadvantage because it takes them a longer time to get running.


HRR: One last handicapping question, what biases at Belmont do jockeys try to take advantage of that horseplayers might miss?


Trevor McCarthy: I try and take advantage of saving ground. That turn at Belmont is huge and tucking in is a big advantage. I also feel closers run very well because of the long turns and stretch. Some guys like to make early moves and that's hard to do on the big track.


HRR: What do you do for fun when you aren't riding horses?


Trevor McCarthy: I like to spend a lot of time fishing and crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay in the summers. I enjoy riding my bike around my community. I love to ski in the winters. I like to visit family as much as I can with our busy schedules.

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