Equine Veterinarian Phil McCarthy Dead at 58

Worked on equine reproductive issues.

Dr. Phil McCarthy, a veterinarian who specialized in reproductive issues and the owner of Watercress Farm near Paris, Ky., died Nov. 29 of cancer at his home in Lexington. He was 58.

“Phil McCarthy was a pioneer in many different areas of the horse business; from fetal sexing of mares to diagnosing and treating stallion infertility," said equine surgeon Dr. James Robertson. Phil was always on the cutting edge.”

It was McCarthy who worked, though unsuccessfully, on Cigar after he was unable to impregnate mares. After an insurance claim was paid, Cigar moved to McCarthy’s farm. Cigar was later moved to the Kentucky Horse Park. McCarthy’s other patients included A P Valentine, who was able to impregnate mares after being treated by the reproductive specialist.

McCarthy graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario in 1977. In 1978, he did his residency at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Centre, where he specialized in large animal reproductive studies. In 1979, McCarthy went to work for Walnut Hall Farms where he was resident veterinarian and ultimately became the farm manager.

The son of the late Dr. Thomas McCarthy and Bonnie Louise Carson, McCarthy is survived by his wife, Penny; a daughter, Katie; a brother, John; and a sister, Jane.

McCarthy focused on reproductive consultation for leading stallion farms around the world while developing Watercress Farm with longtime friend and partner, Fred Hertrich.

“Phil possessed a rare set of talents in the horse industry,” Hertrich said. “He was a true horseman first and foremost, he knew conformation and pedigree better than most, and he happened to be a world class veterinarian on top of all those other things.”

In partnership, McCarthy and Hertrich bred European champion Shamardal and graded stakes winners Street Boss, Even the Score, Sir Greeley, Half Ours, La Chunga, Snow Dance, and Got the Last Laugh.

Visitation will be Dec. 6, 6–9 p.m., at Cathedral of Christ the King, Lexington. Funeral Mass will be Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. at Cathedral of Christ the King.

Memorial contributions may be sent to: Markey Cancer Foundation for Melanoma Research, Cathedral of Christ the King, Sayre School, or Hospice of the Bluegrass.