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General Quarters Breezes Five Furlongs

Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters, being pointed for Arlington Million XXVIII Aug. 21 as the owner-trainer’s main summertime goal, breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs Thursday morning with new rider Alex Solis in the irons.


“He had a real good work this morning,” said McCarthy shortly after the move, officially timed in 1:01 flat although McCarthy clocked it in 1:00.60.  “That was the first time Alex had been up on him, and when they came back Alex said the horse went beautifully for him.  He said he couldn’t get him pulled up until they were half-way down the backside.  That’s how strong the horse felt under him.”


Thursday’s move by General Quarters, who won Churchill’s Grade I Woodford Reserve on the grass on Kentucky Derby Day May 1, was planned as a tune-up for Churchill’s Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap June 12, a nine-furlong affair run over the main track in Louisville.


However, plans call for the gray 4-year-old son of Sky Mesa to be returned to grass for his next start in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 17 over Chicago’s world famous turf course.  That race is designed as the final major local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million five weeks later.


As a sophomore last season, General Quarters won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes over Tampa Bay Downs’ main track in February and the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April before being forced to steady twice in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and subsequently being injured in last year’s Preakness Stakes.


“I believe this horse can run over any surface,” said McCarthy of General Quarters, who also posted four straight runner-up finishes over the main track at Fair Grounds this winter.   “That’s why I was so anxious to try him on the grass in Louisville this spring to see if it made sense to shoot for the Arlington Million.  I’d like to bring him up to Chicago a few days before the Arlington Handicap to get him a feel of the course up there and also school him in the paddock to get him familiar with the new surroundings.”





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