At any harness track on the East Coast; from Harrah’s Philadelphia to Pocono Downs; from the Meadows to the Meadowlands; particularly on a day with stakes racing, you can pick up a program and see either Andrew McCarthy, Todd McCarthy, or both, listed to drive. Sometimes they drive against each other in the same race. These awesome Aussies have quietly climbed the ladder of harness racing success, with determination, passion, and ambition to become the best.
Photo Credit to Vicki Wright Photography

Both brothers were born in Bathurst, about three hours west of Sydney, Australia. “It’s a big horse racing town,” Andrew explained. “There’s a really nice harness track there and a lot of really good trainers. My father is actually a butcher by trade, but he was a hobby trainer. He had about six or eight horses, so I kind of grew up with it.”

The family bought a farm in Queensland when Andrew was 12, taking on training full-time. “My dad did really well, so I grew up working for him, and did quite a bit of driving in Australia before I came over here.”
Venturing to the United States in 2007, Andrew alternated between here and Australia for the first few years. “I was always interested in the American races and loved watching them, not that we had that much access to it back in those days. But there was a guy over here named Bruce Birch who worked for Noel Daley, and he won a fair amount of races.” Bruce introduced Andrew to Noel Daley-and the rest is history.
“I was really interested in being a blacksmith at that stage of my life,” Andrew said. “Noel had two really good blacksmiths, so I was looking to master the art of shoeing horses, but it just kind of worked out where I ended up going the driving route.”
Andrew has driven against many drivers throughout his career, and sometimes, against his younger brother, Todd. When they are off the track, they are family, but on the track, they are foes. “It’s not tough, though, it’s great!” Andrew laughed. “Where I grew up, we’d have four horses in a race on Saturday night back in Brisbane, and there would be my dad, my older brother Luke, myself, and Todd. We just love competing! It’s no worries! We’re rooting for each other, but we’re also trying to beat each other. It’s just a sport, and we’re just all trying to win. We’re brothers and best friends, and when we’re on the track, if he beats me, I congratulate him, if I beat him, he congratulates me.”
Andrew has won the Hambletonian, several Breeders Crowns, the Little Brown Jugette, and countless others, and has 3521 driving wins to date. He has driven some of the best horses in the world. “I’m really fortunate that I get to sit behind a lot of spectacular horses, but Ramona Hill was one that really sent chills down my spine. Her two and three-year-old career was just unbelievable, what she did. Caviart Ally was one of my favorites, too. We went to war with Shartin N pretty much that one year (2019). Jujubee, when he was at the top of his game as a three-year-old was just an unbelievable horse to sit behind.”
Todd McCarthy agrees with his older brother, that supporting each other on and off the track, is the key, no matter the situation. “All these guys that we race against are so professional and so good at what they do, we all just have a similar relationship on the track like that. It’s purely professional when competitive, and it’s a really great thing. I’m sure that there’s times where we’ve probably gotten in each other’s way, as you do with any other driver, but you kind of move on. That’s part of racing. We’ve never really clashed like that, and I think a big part of that is that we all grew up driving horses for my dad, so we learn to be competitive with each other and be respectful at the same time. And it’s a a really healthy balance.”
The 31-year-old Todd arrived in the U.S in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, but he made the best of it and worked hard. “In a way, it probably worked out a little bit. Some drivers had positioned themselves in certain places, so it helped with giving me a little bit of an opening when I first got here, to get started.”
Picking up the drive on trotting filly Anoka Hanover, Todd won the TVG Final that first year. “That was something pretty surreal for me, to pick up a horse like that, that could race in that caliber and to win a race like that in the first few months of being here,” he said.
Recently achieving his 1000th win, and with a Hambletonian, a North America Cup, and a Breeders Crown under his belt, Todd has driven some of the best. “The ones that really stand out to me, Pebble Beach and the two seasons I had with him as a two and three-year-old, he was just so awesome! The amount of speed and heart that he would show! Allywag Hanover, the seasons we had together have been so much fun. And obviously, chasing Bulldog Hanover around was pretty tricky! We just did some great things with him.”
Both brothers continue to believe in the strong family values to support them in their careers. Andrew and wife, Katrina, have two sons, Olly and Finn, and all three are his biggest cheering section. Todd is looking forward to another exciting year and perhaps driving more future stars in harness racing. And when the starting gate opens at a track, and there are two ‘McCarthys’ listed, the competition will be fierce, but the camaraderie and love for family will win every time.
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