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McCarthy Set To Drive In Canada

Published: September 11, 2020 11:45 am ET

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He was listed earlier this week but it wasn't official until Friday morning. Andy McCarthy has now been cleared to drive in Canada and will make his 2020 debut north of the border at Woodbine Mohawk Park this weekend.

The New Jersey-based reinsman, who was last seen on Canadian soil winning four Breeders Crown Finals last October, is listed on seven horses tonight (Sept. 11) at Mohawk and another six on Saturday (Sept. 12).

One of the horses McCarthy will be driving on Friday is 2020 Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill, competing in one of two $88,890+ Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies.

"Ramona Hill is a horse that I will sacrifice a lot for," McCarthy told Trot Insider on Friday morning. "She's the one I'm here for. It is a huge sacrifice to be away from my family for this long; it's been tough on me already, I couldn't imagine it getting any easier. Thank God for FaceTime, I can keep in touch a bit that way."

McCarthy will be the second U.S.-based driver to head to Canada for the Grand Circuit stakes at Mohawk. Yannick Gingras made the trek north in late August and is staying in Ontario for the time being. McCarthy is planning to drive in Canada this weekend and next, but returning stateside for the Kentucky Sires Stakes Final on Sept. 20.

"I'll race here this weekend and the following weekend, and then I'll leave Saturday night for the Kentucky Sires Stakes finals and then more than likely -- not for sure -- I'll turn back around and come back for the card with the Mohawk Million and the Metro.

"I'm considered a cross-border worker and I've got a cross border working exemption," said McCarthy. "I self-isolate until I get a negative COVID test, and then after I get my negative COVID test I have my quarantine exemption and my negative COVID test so that allows me to go to the racetrack.

McCarthy noted that he's followed the federal guidelines to the letter, going above and beyond what's required from someone in his position.

"Those are the protocols in place by the federal government, but I did self-quarantine until I got my negative COVID test. I had the COVID test done before I got to the border, I got the results on Saturday, I was negative in the U.S. and then I got another COVID test when I got here. I wasn't under any instruction that I needed to self-quarantine, I just did it out of respect.

"I crossed the border on Monday night and got an exemption on Monday night. I got my COVID test done Tuesday morning and finally got the results on Friday morning. I've been self-isolating until I got the COVID results."

Noting that the process to get clearance to drive in Canada was neither simple nor smooth, McCarthy is quick to stress that horses like Ramona Hill make the arduous process a very small price to pay. He's coming off a career year in 2019 with $8.3 million in earnings -- ninth best in North America. He's currently seventh in North America with $3,858,353 in purses and fifth best stateside.

"I'm in a terrific spot in my career right now, I'm very fortunate to be the guy that they ask to drive these types of horses. I couldn't be happier and more thankful for the position I'm in right now. It's been a stressful three days but it's a great problem to have."

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