McCarthy Horse Lover All His Life: Learned to Ride On Arizona Plains; Finnegans Owner Closely Associated With the Late Louis B. Mayer Turf Empire, Daily Racing Form, 1959-05-02


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I __ | neil s. McCarthy— "Just loves horses". McCarthy Horse Lover All His Life Learned to Ride j On Arizona Plains Finnegans Owner Closely Associated With the Late Louis B. Mayer Turf Empire By KENT COCHRAN Neil S. McCarthy, Los Angeles barrister and sportsman and owner of the Tanforan . Derby winner, Finnegan, has been a horse lover all his life. He was born in Arizona and learned to ride as a lad over the states wide open spaces — and for the horseman they are vast, indeed. Though he was born and went to school in Arizona, he hung out his shingle in downtown Los Angeles, where for many years he represented some of the wealthiest business men of Southern California. He also was counsel for several motion picture concerns, notably M-G-M and the companies with which Cecil B. DeMille was associated. Polo was a popular sport in Southern California 30 to 40 years ago and young McCarthy took a leading part in the game, both as player and promoter. He maintained a large string of ponies and played for years with the Midwick, Uplifters and Riviera teams. When California enfranchised racing in the early 1930s polo was on the ebb-flow of the equine sports tide and it was but natural that McCarthy, who had owned and used horses all his life should turn to thoroughbreds as an outlet for his chosen sport and hobby. Tick On One of First Purchases No sooner was the law in effect than McCarthy hied himself east and started buying horses. One of his first purchases was Tick On, who had finished second to Burgoo King in the Preakness of 1932. He chose Tick On to head the stud he was forming at the ranch he purchased for the purpose in Hidden Valley, a few miles west of Hollywood. Tick On served his mares in the spring and raced between seasons, with some success. Soon McCarthy was turning out runners of his own breeding and doing quite all right. He bred Big Ben, Dear Diary, Morning Breeze and others with which he won stakes. Augury was another good one who carried the McCarthy colors. Then racing struck the fancy of Louis B. Mayer, and the association of the two men as horsemen marked a big change in McCarthys life as a breeder and racing man. He had represented Mayer and M-G-M in legal matters for years, so it was but natural that the dynamic Mayer should turn to him for counsel in matters pertaining to bloodstock. McCarthy almost overnight became horse counsellor as well as overall legal representative. McCarthy was high in the "Louie B." cabinet on horse matters. In fact, he was top man. It was he who approved or turned thumbs down on nearly every important purchase made by the motion picture mogul, and to McCarthy must go much of the credit for selecting the stallions and mares whose produce quickly elevated Mayer to the top of the national list of breeders of stakes winners. When Mayer dispersed his horse empire McCarthy carried along on his own, after having let down in his own breeding operation due to his interest in the Mayer stud. He associated himself with Leslie Combs in Kentucky and with Joseph McGrath in Ireland. These connections have yielded many successes for McCarthy in the matter of importing stallions from Ireland and in acquisition of high-class mares. In recent years McCarthy has imported Novarullah, Ole Fols, Serial Slipper, Master Gunner and a dozen others who made good on the track and are now at stud. He continues to breed good ones at his home ranch near Moorpark, not far from his home in Beverly Hills, and also at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky. But his pride and joy at this time is his homebred Kentucky Derby candidate — Finnegan.

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