McCarthy enjoys milestone ahead of Captain Albano’s return

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — Time has seemed to pass quickly for Todd McCarthy since his arrival in the U.S. in the late summer of 2020, but he’s certainly made the most of it. He has been a Rising Star Award recipient, captured a Hambletonian, North America Cup and Breeders Crown, sat behind at least one Dan Patch Award winner every season, and, just this past weekend, notched his 1,000th victory in North America.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of 3-1/2 years now, it’s been so much,” said McCarthy, a 31-year-old native of Australia. “It’s been everything I hoped for, but beyond anything I would have expected. I feel like it’s gone really fast, but I think anytime you’re having fun, time does fly by.”

McCarthy, who according to Harness Racing New South Wales won 1,109 races in Australia, got his 1,000th triumph here Saturday with Endofstory at The Meadowlands.

“To be honest, it snuck up on me,” McCarthy said. “I had no idea I was even close to it until the race before when someone mentioned it to me. It was pretty cool. It was a thrill.”

Todd McCarthy notched his 1,000th victory in North America this past weekend. USTA/Ken Weingartner photo.

This weekend, McCarthy will be reunited with one of his Dan Patch Award winners, Captain Albano. The colt makes his seasonal debut in the second of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions for 3-year-old male pacers Saturday at Mohegan Pennsylvania’s Pocono Downs.

Captain Albano is the No. 1-ranked horse in TROT Magazine’s Pepsi North America Cup spring book as well as No. 1 in Meadowlands analyst Dave Little’s Road to the Meadowlands Pace.

Last season, the son of Captaintreacherous-Angelou finished no worse than second in nine races, winning seven. His victories included the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and four races on the Grand Circuit. He finished second in the Breeders Crown.

“He was such a classy horse as a 2-year-old, so mature for his age,” McCarthy said. “He was pretty versatile as well. He can cut a mile if he’s got to, he’s great off a helmet, and he’s quick off the gate. I think that’s a complete package when a horse can do basically all three of those things.”

Captain Albano, trained by Noel Daley, will start Saturday from post four in a field of seven and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. He heads to the race off two qualifiers at The Meadowlands; he finished sixth in the first before winning the second in 1:52.3 with a :25.3 last quarter.

Captain Albano makes his seasonal debut in the second of four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions Saturday. Amanda Stephens photo.

“That first qualifier, I just made sure to keep him out of the speed,” McCarthy said. “We wanted to keep him way off the pace. It might have worried a couple people when they looked at the line, but the horse himself was fine. The next one, Noel said I could go a little bit more with him, let him sprint home a little more. He finished up really strong.

“I’ve been really pleased with the way he’s come back. I got to go and train him a couple times on his way back. He’s grown a little and he’s filled out a lot. He’s looking really good. He’s definitely one I’ve been looking forward to all winter. You only hope he comes back good, stays healthy and happy, and we can have a bit of fun with him this year.”

Tenacious Hanover, who finished second in a PASS division May 4 at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, is the 5-2 favorite in Saturday’s opening sire stakes split. Rush In, a PASS winner on May 4, is the 2-1 choice in the third while Gem Quality gets the 5-2 nod in the fourth after his season-debut victory in a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars last week at Pocono Downs.

Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) at Pocono Downs. For free race programs, visit the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association website here.

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