McCarthy Rides Three Winners at Pimlico

On January 1, apprentice rider Trevor McCarthy rode four winners on opening day of the Laurel Park winter meet. This afternoon, the 18-year-old visited the winners’ circle three times on opening day of the Pimlico Race Course spring meeting.


McCarthy was first aboard Christmas Flys ($6.40-third), Go Allie ($12-fourth) and Granted Ruler ($12.60-seventh).


“It is something about opening day,” said McCarthy, who finished second in the Laurel standings with 51 victories. “I didn’t get leading rider at Laurel but I did win four races twice and had my first career stakes race. I thought I had a chance to have another big day and it worked out. It has been a great year so far.”


Granted Ruler was the second winner on the card for trainer Billy Campbell, who also saddled Radio Relay ($21.60) to victory in the fifth. It was the sixth victory in 17 starts for Radio Relay since the gelding was claimed by Campbell in January 2011.


“We should have come back to Pimlico sooner,” said the Bowie-based Campbell.


Dale Capuano, who has 18 training titles at Pimlico Race Course on his resume, saddled Roman’s Touch ($5.60) to victory in the opener.


“It was a good way to start the meet,” Capuano said. “The horse was game. Hopefully this is the start of things to come. Usually during the winter we take it easy but as spring starts we pick it up a little bit. We have our turf horses ready to run.”


The marquee race meeting of the year kicked off this afternoon with brisk weather but the temperature could not dampen a buzz of anticipation from an enthusiastic, opening day crowd of 3,035.


The 36-day spring meeting will feature live racing on a Thursday through Sunday schedule (with holiday exceptions) through Saturday, June 8. The signature race of the stand is the 138th Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday, May 18.



Two turf stakes, the Dahlia for fillies and mares and the Mister Diz for Maryland-bred sprinters highlight the 10-race card on opening Saturday at Pimlico.


The five furlong Mister Diz goes as race seven and is headed by Ben’s Cat (4-5), the three-time defending champion of the race. The reigning star of the King Leatherbury stable is 11 for 17 on the grass with career earnings exceeding $1.35 million.


The Parker’s Storm cat offspring will be making his seasonal debut in the Mister Diz, just as he did a year ago. Among his five wins in 2012 were victories in the Parx Dash Handicap, the Turf Monster Stakes (G3), the Maryland Million Turf Sprint and the Fabulous Strike Stakes.


“That might be some kind of a record (winning the same stakes race four consecutive years),” said Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,374 career victories. “He is coming into the race as well as he did last year. He is very sound and is maintaining his condition. I have had some pretty good runners throughout the years but he has to be considered the best one I have trained. We should be 1-2 in the race and hopefully this is the start of another big year for him.”


Julian Pimentel will ride Ben’s Cat.


Fifth behind Ben’s Cat in last year’s Mister Diz and second behind him in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint, Heros Reward (6-1) carries the hopes of trainer Dale Capuano and rider Erick Rodriguez. The son of Partner’s Hero has earned nearly $1.3 million in his career, which includes 12 victories on the grass.


“At age 11 he still looks good which is why we bring him back,” Capuano said. “I saw both horses (Heros Reward and Ben’s Cat) on the track this morning and said ‘there’s $2.6 million’. Those two horses sprinting on the turf, earning that much money is tough to do. Hopefully they’ll be 1-2.”


Other contenders include Night Officer (9-2) and last year’s runner-up Steady Warrior (12-1).


Should inclement weather force the race off the turf and onto the main track, Bullet Catcher (15-1), who made national news this winter after escaping the grounds of Laurel Park and galloping through traffic on U.S. Route 1, could garner attention again as he goes for his second straight victory. The son of Strong Hope was victorious in his debut here in 2011.


The Dahlia Stakes is race nine on Saturday’s program. It is slated for one mile. Twelve runners are entered with Julie’s Love, the 7-5 morning line favorite.


The 5-year old mare wintered in Florida after winning three of seven starts last year. Trained by Graham Motion, Julie’s Love won turf races at Keeneland, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course and finished second to Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine in the Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs. Erick Rodriguez has the mount.


Embarr (4-1) and Forest Boyce hope to continue their winning ways on Saturday. She is two-for-two on the grass at Pimlico and Boyce has ridden the Royal Academy mare to a total of four turf victories, including the Broadmede Stakes at Colonial Downs. Embarr has been drilling at a private training track in Virginia in anticipation of her 2013 debut for trainer Susan Cooney.


Font (8-1) raced twice at Tampa Bay Downs this winter with an optional claiming victory and an 11th place finish in the Endeavour Stakes (G3). Sheldon Russell will try to help the Pulpit mare rebound for trainer Arnaud Delacour.


The $50,000 Twixt Stakes failed to fill with only two fillies willing to face multiple stakes winner Walkwithapurpose. The Sagamore Farm homebred will instead attempt to win her sixth consecutive race in the Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.



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