A rising star in the trainer ranks, Michael McCarthy is enjoying a fine 2020 season. The Southern California-based conditioner has won 12-of-37 starts (31% win rate) this year.

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Two wins have come at Golden Gate Fields, with another at Turf Paradise, and McCarthy is currently tied for sixth in the Santa Anita trainer standings (nine wins). He lacks the inventory of leading trainer Richard Baltas, who has won 20 races while starting nearly three times as many horses during the current meet, but McCarthy can hold his own at any level, whether it’s cheap claiming races or top-class events.

A long-time assistant to Todd Pletcher, McCarthy started his own stable in 2014. The 48-year-old has trained a trio of Grade 1 winners, including 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) hero City of Light, who concluded his racing career with a dominant win in the 2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and earned more than $5.6 million.

McCarthy has been particularly effective of late, striking at a 35% clip (6-for-17) since Feb. 8. The hot trainer enters March having won 3-of-7 starts over the last two-week stretch.