Anthony McCarthy had never been in the winner’s circle at his hometown track.
Now he’s been there three times in less than four weeks.
Spring to the Sky held off Dads Caps to win the $100,000 Troy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, his second win of the meet and the second win for his owner, a 1977 Saratoga High School graduate, on the day.
McCarthy’s Broadway Bay won the second race, then Spring to the Sky wired the field under Javier Castellano to win the Troy, which was moved from the turf to the main track because of an all-day rain.
Trainer Bruce Brown said they would’ve scratched if Tightend Touchdown stayed in the race, but he scratched. That left the main-track-only as the 1-2 betting favorite
“Yeah, it’s been a great meet, so far,” said McCarthy, who grew up two blocks from the track, on Wright Street. “All credit to Bruce, who gets them set and running, and to Javier, who’s ridden all three of them for us. Those guys do the hard part; I get to sit here and get my picture taken.”
Spring to the Sky was named in honor of McCarthy’s father, Anthony, who died of pancreatic cancer.
He won the Lucky Coin on July 20, not the first time one of McCarthy’s horses had won at Saratoga, but marking the first time he was actually able to be in town to see his silks in the winner’s circle.
In typical fashion, Spring to the Sky took the field out in 21.68 for the quarter-mile.
Castellano had told Brown and McCarthy that the main track was tiring, and Spring to the Sky’s final time was a slowish 1:04.01, but that was good enough to beat Dads Caps by three-quarters of a length.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez lodged a complaint to the stewards against Spring to the Sky, who drifted out a bit at the eighth pole while under a right-handed stick from Castellano. After a few minutes, the inquiry was denied.
“I knew he was coming out a little bit, but it didn’t look like anything,” McCarthy said. “I saw the head-on, and I wasn’t worried.”
He was worried about the slop, though, and Brown was prepared to scratch.
“It was a last-minute decision. When Jason’s horse came out, we figured, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’ ” Brown said, referring to trainer Jason Servis scratching Tightend Touchdown. “He’s really been breaking great, and then he can take advantage of his speed after that.”
“He won his maiden on a sloppy track, but ran in the mud in the Bold Ruler and didn’t like that and ran on the Poly at Keeneland and didn’t like that, so we were a little apprehensive,” McCarthy said. “We said if it gets really sloppy, we’ll run him and take a shot, and that’s what happened.”
The Todd Pletcher-trained Competitive Edge, who won his six-furlong debut here by 101⁄4 lengths on July 26, worked out Tuesday in preparation for a possible start in the Grade I Hopeful on Sept. 1.
The 2-year-old Super Saver colt breezed four furlongs on the main track in :47.81.
“It was more of the same,” Pletcher said. “He’s a very, very impressive work horse. He went 47 and change effortlessly, and he came out of it well. He’s on schedule for the Hopeful.”
Tahoe Tigress is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for today’s Saratoga Dew, a 11⁄8-mile run on the main track for New York-bred fillies and mares
3 and up.
The 5-year-old won an open allowance at Belmont Park at 1 1/16 miles in her last start on June 19, besting five others, including Miss Besilu, who will step up to the Grade I Alabama on Saturday.
She will be joined by the 3-1 coupled entry of Carameaway and Dreaming of Cara, and the third choice, Easy Going, at 7-2.
Easy Going and Get Gorgeious come into the race off wins. The field is rounded out by Royal Suspicion and Little Rocket.