General Quarters, winner of this year’s grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, returns to the races at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Dec. 26 in an allowance test at six furlongs.
The 3-year-old son of Sky Mesa out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Ecology hasn’t raced since a ninth-place finish in the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He had a chip removed from his right knee after that race.
General Quarters, owned and trainer by Tom McCarthy, has been prepping at Fair Grounds for his return. He worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 Dec. 10.
“Fair Grounds has kind of a sandy track, and he just loves it here,” McCarthy told Fair Grounds officials Dec. 21. “Also, (the Fair Grounds) program for 4-year-olds is a lot better than (the one at Tampa Bay Downs), where I took him last season.”
At Tampa in Florida, General Quarters won the grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and finished fifth in the grade III Tampa Bay Derby before his win in the Blue Grass.
McCarthy said if General Quarters “runs as well as I expect him to Saturday,” the Jan. 23 Louisiana Handicap and the Feb. 20 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) are possibilities. The goal, he said, is the March 27 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II).
“I’m hoping Saturday’s race will serve as a confidence-builder for him,” McCarthy said.
The Dec. 26 race, worth $49,000, is for non-winners of three other than or non-winners of four races lifetime. It carries an optional claiming price of $62,500.
General Quarters will face a solid field of sprinters: Success Success, Credit Only, Kissin Child, Citizen, Discreet Street, and Tempo Five. Post time for the race, the eighth on the card, is 4 p.m. CST.