posted by Kalina on Apr 28

Geberal Quarters in first, Hold Me Back in second, with Massone in third.

General Quarters in first, Hold Me Back in second, with Massone in third.

Tom McCarthy is the 75 year old owner/trainer of the former claimer, General Quarters. He claimed the colt for $20,000 in a maiden claimer last May in Kentucky. General Quarters broke his maiden in that race, then went without winning in his next 5 races in Kentucky. He was moved to Tampa Bay Downs at the end of his 2-year old racing season. He placed a good second Dec. 27, in the Inaugural Stakes (gr. III), then came back three weeks later to finish in second to Musket Man in the Pasco Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep race. The colt finally had a breakthrough when her pulled away to win by 3 ½ lengths in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III). After General Quarter’s disappointing fifth place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby, McCarthy took his horse to Keeneland. The colt needed graded stakes earnings to make it to the Derby.

He breezed five furlongs in a bullet :58 1/5, giving McCarthy much needed optimism. In the Blue Grass, there was nothing to scare anyone away. With most accomplished 3-year olds staying put and running through progressive race seasons at Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Fairgrounds, or Santa Anita, the Blue Grass has become a destination for horses needing to find a last chance race to pick up enough graded earnings to get into the Derby starting gate. Of the 11 contestants, only Terrain; Lane’s End Stakes winner (gr. II), Hold Me Back; and Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes victor Mafaaz had earned guaranteed spots in the Derby playing field.

Join In The Dance went to the front to set easy fractions of 24.40, 49.06, and 1:13.31, with Theregoesjojo following him. Massone went after Join In The Dance, passing Theregoesjojo, General Quarters, and Patena, and getting in second. General Quarters made his move after and made it into first after going wide in fifth. He won the race, hitting the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of Hold Me Back, with Massone in third, Terrain in fourth, and Join In The Dance in fifth. Charitable Man, another strong contender, was never an issue, coming in seventh.

Eibar Coa, his jockey, also rider of Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Musket man, will have a decision to make in selecting his Derby mount. General Quarters’ owner/trainer, Tom McCarthy, was extremely pleased with the outcome of the race. “I can’t tell you what was going through my mind; euphoria, I guess,” said McCarthy. “It’s a feeling I’ve never had before, and I said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ I’ve been watching other people train good horses, and now I have one. I never thought I’d be here, but I was hoping. Every time I bred one I’d think, ‘Is this the one?’ And it never was. But this is the one. He’s bred to go the route. He’s tenacious and aggressive, and we need a pony to pick him up coming off the track in the mornings. But thank goodness at my age he’s an easy horse to work with in his stall, like a big baby.”

One Comment to “Blue Grass Stakes, April 11, General Quarters”

  1. Heather Says:

    Hi there,
    Just wanted to stop by and say hello. Good for you on this blog. Love the pictures and you have great information. Keep moving forward!

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