Local Owners Off To A Strong Start At Oaklawn

by | 02.08.2020 | 2:34pm
Carson McCord holds Futile in the Oaklawn winner's circle

Six owners have had multiple victories this year at Oaklawn through Friday, including two who reside in Hot Springs.

One is John Ed Anthony, among the most successful owners in Oaklawn history. Anthony, 80, has campaigned three Eclipse Award winners and won virtually every major two-turn stakes race at Oaklawn at least once. The second is Carson McCord, whose racing resume isn't nearly as glamorous. Then again, McCord is only 20.

McCord scored her second victory of the meeting in Friday's third race with favored Futile ($6.20), a Cecil Borel-trainee ridden by his younger brother, Hall of Famer Calvin Borel.

According to statistics compiled by Equibase, racing's official data organization, Futile represented McCord's eighth victory from 48 starts overall. Her first career starter, K J's Nobility, finished fourth in an Aug. 17, 2018, allowance race at Indiana Grand. She had claimed the Arkansas-bred gelding about a month earlier for $25,000.

“Long term, it's not like this is what I want to do for my career,” McCord said. “I think I want to be a hedge fund manager, but we'll see. Owning horses is like a hedge fund, in a way. You're taking a gamble.”

So far, it's paying off for McCord, who graduated from nearby Lake Hamilton High School in 2018 and is a sophomore at Chapman University in suburban Los Angeles.

McCord said her hook to Thoroughbred racing was through her father, Bill McCord, who bred and owned horses before going into the stock business in the 1990s. Carson McCord has approximately five horses at Oaklawn with Cecil Borel, adding the trainer also had a business relationship with her father in the 1980s.

“I think I owned my first horse a month after I turned 18,” McCord said. “I think we bought a yearling then, and then I claimed KJ.”

Borel came out of a lengthy retirement at the 2019 Oaklawn meeting and recorded his first victory in more than 4 ½ years with K J's Nobility in an Arkansas-bred starter-allowance sprint last April. K J's Nobility nearly gave McCord her first career stakes victory less than a month later, finishing second, beaten a half-length by state-bred sensation Hoonani Road, in Oaklawn's inaugural $200,000 Arkansas Breeders' Championship at 1 1/16 miles.

“It was close, but I think if Cecil would have had him longer, we would have won,” McCord said.

Futile also represented McCord's first victory of the meeting in a Jan. 25 sprint for older $20,000 claimers. Calvin Borel was named to ride Futile but took off the gelding and was replaced by Fair Grounds-based Miguel Mena, who had ridden Lynn's Map the previous day in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, Oaklawn's first of four Kentucky Derby points races. Because of flight arrangements, Mena was still in Hot Springs Jan. 25 after a scheduled mount in the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes fell through and entries had already been taken that day at Fair Grounds.

It was really a win-win for McCord since her boyfriend, Joe Santos, is Mena's agent.

“That was our first win,” Santos said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Futile, the meet's first two-time winner, was claimed out of Friday's sprint victory for $16,000. McCord also ran third in a Jan. 26 open allowance sprint with K J's Nobility and has Flatoutandfoxy entered in a state-bred allowance sprint Thursday. Flatoutandfoxy represented the first career training victory for Calvin Borel's wife, Renay Borel, Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. Renay Borel had taken over Cecil Borel's small stable last fall after he briefly stepped away from the game. She is his assistant at Oaklawn.

Anthony also had two victories at the meet through Friday.

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