By Jeremy Balan
Owner Aron Wellman and trainer Michael McCarthy didn’t have grand plans for Ohio when they put the $50,000 claim in for the Brazilian-bred June. 10 at Santa Anita Park. They just wanted some action for the upcoming Del Mar summer meet.
They got their action and got away unscathed.
Entered for a $28,000 claiming tag in his first start for his new connections Aug. 19, the 7-year-old Elusive Quality gelding impressed with a 2 1/4-length victory after a not-so-great trip in the one-mile turf race at Del Mar, and nobody decided to claim him.
“We were very lucky he wasn’t claimed,” McCarthy said of Ohio, who came back Oct. 6 to finish third behind multiple graded winner Sharp Samurai and Fly to Mars in the Oct. 6 City of Hope Mile (G2T) at Santa Anita.
Now Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman’s runner will try graded competition again in the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap (G2T) back at Del Mar Nov. 24.
McCarthy had observed Ohio on the Southern California circuit since 2016, when he arrived from Brazil and won his U.S. debut against allowance company by 2 3/4 lengths for trainer Paulo Lobo. He won another allowance that year and competed in eight graded stakes for Lobo through early 2018, but never put it together.
“He’s always been talented, and I thought when he came here he could be any kind of horse, and he seemed to always be knocking on the door,” McCarthy said. “He’s a good work horse and hard to miss. Aron reached out when the horse was in for ($50,000) and I was all for it.”