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Owner-Trainer McCarthy Back at Fair Grounds

Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy, the septuagenarian former high school principal who became the feel-good Kentucky Derby week story of 2009 after he saddled his lone horse General Quarters to win Keeneland’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes, brought a three-horse stable to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots last weekend and plans a winter campaign for all three in the Crescent City.

Following disappointing performances in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes that spring, General Quarter was given time off following injuries sustained and came back to the track in time for Fair Grounds’ 2009-2010 season, where the gray colt was runner-up in four straight local outings that included the Grade II New Orleans and Grade III Mineshaft handicaps.

Undaunted, McCarthy and General Quarters returned to the Twin Spires oval that spring and won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic over the Louisville lawn on Kentucky Derby Day.

Now, at the age of 78, McCarthy, fresh off his weekend drive down from Louisville, was at the barn Monday morning to breeze his new 2-year-old Flower Alley colt Danzig Gold, owned in partnership with his son Tim,five furlongs in 1:03 flat.  He came back to breeze his 3-year-old filly Greek Bird – owned by Jerry Hill – a half-mile in :51 flat Wednesday.

A third father-son McCarthy-owned horse, Brink of War, won his most recent start at Churchill on Nov. 23.

“It’s good to be back here in New Orleans,” said McCarthy Wednesday morning.  “I couldn’t make it down last winter because my wife Pat and I were both (seriously) injured in a car accident and were still recovering throughout the year.  But I’m back now and looking forward to the new Fair Grounds season.  Hopefully, we can have some luck with these three horses I’ve brought with me this winter.”

Following two seasons at stud in Florida, General Quarters will now be standing in Kentucky.


Veteran jockeys Robby Albarado, Shaun Bridgmohan and Miguel Mena will be rejoining the already talent-laden jockey colony at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots beginning Thursday.

Following the end of the Churchill Downs 2013 season last weekend, Albarado is listed to ride four mounts Thursday, while Bridgmohan has three and Mena two on the December 5 nine-race program with a first race post time of 1 p.m.

Albarado, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, has won seven riding titles at Fair Grounds – more than any other rider in the 142-season history of the New Orleans oval.  Bridgmohan, born in Jamaica but raised in South Florida, won the local riding title during the 2009-2010 session, and Mena, a native of Lima, Peru, has been in at least the top six in the Fair Grounds standings for the last four years, with a third-place finish at the 2011-2012 session.


Apprentice jockey Ashley Broussard, a 21-year-old native of Lafayette, Louisiana, has brought her tack to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this season.

The daughter of former jockey Clarence Broussard came on the track at age 18, accepted the first mount of her career last spring at Churchill Downs, broke her maiden at Kentucky’s Ellis Park last summer, also rode sporadically in Indiana and has accepted one mount at Louisiana’s Delta Downs to date.

“I broke my maiden on a filly named With Excellence at Ellis,” Broussard said.  “She was the only filly in a race against boys and I was the only girl jockey in the race so they made a big deal about it at the time.  She was pretty much of a long shot in the race but she won the race pretty easy – by about seven lengths, I think.

“They got me pretty good after the race,” said Broussard, speaking of racing’s traditional baptizing of apprentice jockeys after their first win.  “They got me with eggs, ice cold water, baby powder and ice cream, but it was worth every second.

“That night when I left the track I must have had a million phone calls waiting for me,” Broussard added.  “I talked to my parents back in Lafayette.  They had watched the race on simulcast.  It was all pretty awesome.

“Since the beginning of the season down here, my business has been pretty steady,” Broussard concluded.  “I haven’t won any races here yet but I’ve had a few seconds and some thirds.  That’s what matters at this point, just to keep hitting the board with long shots.”

From 71-career mounts so far in her fledgling career, Broussard has three wins, 11 seconds and seven third-place finishes.



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