McCarthy brothers make history on a memorable North America Cup Night
Todd McCarthy’s win with Pebble Beach makes him the third McCarthy brother to win a million-dollar harness race.
by Bob Heyden
There was plenty of history written on Saturday (June 18) on Pepsi North America Cup Night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Let’s go right to the biggie:
A third McCarthy brother has now won a million-dollar race.
Luke McCarthy won the 2020, 2021 and 2022 million-dollar Miracle Mile at Menangle Park in New South Wales, Australia. He and wife Belinda also train and they also raced the 2022 runner-up Spirit Of St Louis.
Andrew McCarthy won the 2020 Hambletonian with Ramona Hill in a record-tying time 1:50.1 for a million beans.
Todd McCarthy just won the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup with Pebble Beach for trainer Noel Daley.
Never have three driving brothers each won a million-dollar harness race. And, they turned the trick in three different countries.
Their father, John McCarthy, himself the winner of back-to-back Miracle Miles in 2005-2006 with Be Good Johnny, had this to say about his boys:
“I am so proud of them… I miss having them with me at home, but I love watching them do well over there. They all have different styles in the way they drive. Thanks go to Andy’s wife Kat and Noel Daley. I’ve been friends with Noel for years. It all started with Noel. I’m proud they’ve all remained nice people. I used to say to them, ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.’”
John and wife Narelle live in Cobbitty, New South Wales and he still dabbles with the horses.
And if Andy can win the Hambletonian — the lone remaining million-dollar race in 2022 — it would mean all three McCarthy brothers will have won a million-dollar race in the same year.
Oh, and in each of the three million-dollar races won by the McCarthy brothers, they were the betting choice.
Trainer Brett Pelling finished 1-2 in the Fan Hanover with Treacherous Dragon and Wickedly Innocent. No surprise there. Pelling is the only trainer to go 1-2 in a Meadowlands Pace final — 2005 Rocknroll Hanover and Village Jolt. He is also the only trainer to go 1-2 in the Little Brown Jug, twice — 2004 Timesareachanging and Western Terror and also in 1998 with Shady Character and Cam Knows Best. Pelling also dead-heated in the 2004 Cane Pace with Timesareachanging and Western Terror.
On the same NA Cup card, Pelling also won the Roses Are Red with reigning Horse of the Year Test Of Faith.
Treacherous Dragon and Wickedly Innocent finished a head apart as stablemates in the Fan Hanover, but did you know they were also raised together at White Birch Farm in New Jersey? Has anyone seen this movie before? Yes. In 2003, a couple of fillies named Darlins Delight and My Little Dragon were born and raised together at White Birch Farm. They both raced from 2005-2009 with Darlins Delight banking an incredible $2.901,926 and My Little Dragon winning three Breeders Crowns and setting a 1:48.1 female world race record with $2.3 million earned herself. Did I mention My Little Dragon competed for Noel Daley, trainer of Pebble Beach, and is the dam of Treacherous Dragon, too?
You never ever would have seen this 40-50 years ago.
Two Hambletonian winners — three and four years after winning it — together winning on the very same card in another country.
Forbidden Trade and Atlanta both won on NA Cup Night.
When Atlanta won the Armbro Flight on Saturday at Mohawk, she finished ahead of two Hambletonian Oaks winners — 2019 Oaks winner When Dovescry was second and 2021 Oaks winner Bella Bellini was third.
WAVE TO HER
Atlanta surpassed Manchgeo on the all-time earnings list with her victory in the Armbro Flight. Both are foals of 2015 and both have now surpassed $3.1 million.
DALEY WENT 11 YEARS BETWEEN
Trainer Noel Daley went 11 years between million-dollar victories from 2011’s Hambletonian win with Broad Bahn to Saturday’s NA Cup win with Pebble Beach.
Saturday’s card concluded with $1.9 million bet into the Jackpot Hi-5. Quietly, the second-place finisher — at 39-1 — was Bolt Power for trainer Harry Poulton, who has a UTRS. of .362. He was the trainer of the one-time richest pacer ever: On The Road Again in 1983-1985. He also trained the one-time fastest ever horse (1:48.2 TT 1988) Matts Scooter, who was the 1989 Horse of the Year.
The fractions for the North America Cup were the exact same for each half: :27.3 then :27.2, then :27.3 followed by :27.2. One :55 half followed by another.
Sons of Somebeachsomewhere were second and third in the NA Cup — and the winner was a grandson. That is it, folks. That was SBSW’s final crop to compete in an NA Cup.
Final crops can yield some great ones. Balanced Image did so with Arch Madness and Cam Fella with Eternal Camnation.
NO, NO, NO
This year’s NA Cup had no Ron Burke, no Nancy Takter and no female trainers. The last one is especially significant since five of the last seven NA Cups went to female trainer, with Takter going back to back in 2019 and 2020.