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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
How did you make a big impression on Katie?
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
How do you watch races and read the past performances differently as a jockey
versus a handicapper trying to pick winners?
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
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?
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.
One last handicapping question, what biases at Belmont do jockeys try to take
advantage of that horseplayers might miss?
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.
What do you do for fun when you aren't riding horses?
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
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