DERBY CONTENDER PROFILE
Thomas McCarthy is a 78 year old former school principal. His biggest dream is to find the winners circle in the Kentucky Derby. At his old age he figured it was too late, but he will have a shot with General Quarters. McCarthy claimed the son of Sky Mesa for just $20k from Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey. If he is able to win the Kentucky Derby it would be a Cinderella story almost comparable to that of the famed Seabiscuit. He may or may not win, but he sure as hell has a shot.
General Quarters broke his maiden under the twin spires of Churchill Downs going 4 ½ furlongs. He earned a tiny BSF of 54 for that win, finishing in :52 3/5 seconds under Elvis Trujillo. While the win might not look like much, it proved that he was capable of winning, and that he likes the Churchill Downs surface.
The son of Sky Mesa raced in allowance company at Keeneland and Churchill Downs for the rest of fall. His BSF peaked at 81 for these races, and his best finish was second. McCarthy then decided to send the colt to Tampa Bay Downs and try the Inaugural Stakes. General Quarters showed he had tons of hidden talent in this race. He closed very fast seven wide in the six furlong event and finished second beaten a single length. His next race also resulted in a second place finish in stakes company even though he grabbed the lead in the stretch.
At this point, it looked like General Quarters was on a verge of being a real contender. McCarthy opted to take the blinkers off and place the colt in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes where he would be one of the longshots. It would be his first time racing at a route distance, and he was kept much closer to the pace by jockey James Lopez. After stalking in second for most of the way, he forged to a 3 ½ length win and a massive 102 BSF! General Quarters had finally splashed onto the Kentucky Derby scene, and in a big way.
Many in the horse racing world considered General Quarters win in the Sam F. Davis to be something of a fluke. They thought he wouldnt be able to reproduce such a performance, and probably felt good when he ran fifth next out in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby. General Quarters was the victim of a very poor trip in that race and was steadied several times. He came out of the race with a couple of cuts. Everyone quickly wrote him off, but McCarthy knew his colt better; onward to the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes. It would be do or die for the old trainer and his colt there.
The Bluegrass was a particularly deep field, and General Quarters would go off as one of the longest shots in the race at 14-1. Some of the best horses in that race includedFlorida Derby third place finisher Theregoesjojo, and LAnes End winner Hold Me Back. Eibar Coa broke General Quarters where he knew he would do his best running and stayed wide so he could avoid any trouble as he was unable to do in the Tampa Bay Derby. It worked perfectly; General Quarters was leading by 2 lengths in the stretch and was able to hold off the powerful closing move of the favored Hold Me Back to win by a length.
General Quarters will be headed to the Kentucky Derby with two huge wins under his belt; the Sam F. Davis Stakes and the Bluegrass Stakes. He is a big powerful colt and should like the distance of the Kentucky Derby. The white hot Julien Leparoux will be riding General Quarters on the first Saturday in May. McCarthy may have had to wait until he was 78 to get to his first Kentucky Derby, but he has a shot to win!
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