General Challenge

General Challenge

Benoit Photo

California Favorite General Challenge Dead

The 18-year-old gelding lived out his days at Golden Eagle Farm.

General Challenge, California's top 3-year-old male in 1999, was euthanized Feb. 4 at Golden Eagle Farm after his "condition deteriorated rapidly," the farm said on its Facebook page. The gelding was 18.

General Challenge retired from racing in the summer of 2003 and spent his days as a farm pony at the California breeding farm. Staff said "everyone at the farm was with him when he passed (away). He is being buried next to Best Pal (at Golden Eagle)."

A son of Golden Eagle stallion General Meeting, General Challenge won the 1999 Santa Anita Derby and Pacific Classic Stakes (both gr. I). He also was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) as part of an entry with Excellent Meeting; he finished 11th.

The following year General Challenge won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and was named the state's best older male of 2000. He was trained by Bob Baffert.

During those two years of racing, in which he earned $1 million each year, General Challenge won five other stakes, four of which were graded. His career earnings topped $2.8 million.

General Challenge, out of Excellent Lady, was bred by Betty Mabee and her late husband, John, who died in the spring of 2002.