General Quarters, a grade I winner who gave his septuagenarian owner Tom McCarthy the thrill of a lifetime when contesting the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), has been retired from racing.
McCarthy is in the process of choosing a farm to stand the 5-year-old son of Sky Mesa at stud.
In his final start General Quarters finished last in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 25.
“I couldn’t figure it out,” McCarthy, a retired Louisville-area school principal, said about General Quarters’ effort in the Clark. “But he came out of the race wonderful, and the next day he was playful and hard to walk. Then two or three days later he was on his toes and acting studish. I guess he wants to be a stallion.
“I’ve got about eight offers. I need to choose right away because he’s hard to handle.”
General Quarters entered the Kentucky Derby picture after he won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland three weeks before the Run for the Roses. The fact that he was McCarthy’s sole horse and that McCarthy had claimed him for $20,000 and doubled as trainer brought national video attention.
“I had watched so many Derbys, and I thought I would like to be a part of it,” McCarthy said. “A horse like that doesn’t come around too often.”
Sent off at 10-1 in the Derby, General Quarters raced in mid-pack and finished 10th in the 19-horse field.
Two weeks later General Quarters contested the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and finished ninth.
General Quarters, who went winless is six starts this year, was retired with 15 top-three finishes from 27 starts and earnings of $1,226,655. Ten of those efforts came in stakes.
“He’s been good to me, and I’ve enjoyed him immensely,” McCarthy said. “It won’t be same without him every day. He was a dream come true.”
General Quarters was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. R. David Randal and produced from the Unbridled's Song mare Ecology.