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McCarthy Hopes Woodford Reserve Winner General Quarters Returns As A "Tiger" in 2011

| Churchill Downs Communications | 11/17/2010 #
  • General Quarters, owned and trained by Tom McCarthy, returned to the winner's circle under jockey Rafael Bejarano following his victory in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I) on Kentucky Derby Day.

McCARTHY HOPES TO HAVE “TIGER” ON HIS HANDS IN 2011 – Tom McCarthy was looking ahead to a huge fall with his stable star General Quarters. Now, McCarthy has his sights set on 2011.

“I had him almost up to the Shadwell (Turf Mile) at Keeneland in early October and he hit a tendon one morning coming off the track,” McCarthy said. “He had two weeks off and then to be on the safe side, off another two weeks.”

That took care of any Breeders’ Cup plans for General Quarters, winner of the Turf Classic (GI) here this spring and third-place finisher behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Blame in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) in June.

He is at Fallbrook Farm (in Versailles) and I am thinking about going over to see him this afternoon,” McCarthy said. “I am vacillating about when to bring him back. I want to give him a nice vacation and hope he will be a tiger next year.”

A $20,000 claim two years ago, General Quarters has compiled a record of 21-4-7-2 for earnings of $1,165,260. In addition to his Turf Classic victory, General Quarters also won the 2009 Toyota Blue Grass (GI) over Polytrack at Keeneland that led to runs in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the Preakness (GI).

General Quarters came out of the Preakness with a small bone chip in his right front knee that kept him out of racing for more than seven months.

“He had a hard campaign this winter,” McCarthy said of the colt’s four starts at Fair Grounds prior to the Turf Classic. “Maybe I will treat him like they did Perfect Drift; off after the fall and bring him back in the spring. That seemed to benefit him immensely.”

Perfect Drift, third-place finisher in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, raced eight seasons and compiled a record of 50-11-14-7 for earnings of $4,714,212.

“He has treated me so well,” McCarthy said of General Quarters, “that I want him to come back at 100 percent.”

ARUNA LIVES UP TO BILLING IN UNBEATEN U.S. STINT – Trainer Graham Motion bases his stable operation out of the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, shuttling horses in and out to various destinations for races.

A lot of times, waiting at the tracks for the new arrivals is Heather Craig. One such horse that caught Craig’s attention this summer was Flaxman Holdings Ltd.’s Aruna, a 3-year-old filly who figures to be one of the favorites in Saturday’s 20th running of the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (Grade II) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16-miles on turf.

“She had been at Fair Hill awhile (since arriving in the U.S. from France) and I didn’t know what she had done there,” Craig said of Aruna, who was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Wednesday afternoon. “She came up to Saratoga which was a lot busier and I took her through the paddock and she didn’t turn a hair. She’s a really nice, very classy filly.”

A homebred daughter of two-time graded stakes winner Surya, Aruna debuted in the summer of 2009 running third at France’s Deauville to Zagora, the same Zagora who ran second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland last month. After a sixth-place finish behind Sarafina in the Prix Saint-Alary (GI) at Longchamp in May, Aruna came to the States where she won her debut at Saratoga in allowance company in September and then took the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont in October.

“They were really high on her when we got her,” said Craig, who has not ridden Aruna since early September at Saratoga. “She’s a lovely gallop.”

One filly that has returned to Fair Hill from the Motion barn is Shared Account, longshot winner of the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI).

“She came out of the race great and went back to Fair Hill the first of last week,” Craig said of the 4-year-old filly who is owned by Sagamore Farm. “She is going get a little holiday.”

BARN TALK – Julien Leparoux rode three winners on Sunday to boost his career total to 433 at Churchill Downs and into 13th place all time. Leparoux passed Keith Allen (431) and moved within a victory of Willie Martinez. No. 11 on the all-time list is Mike McDowell with 452 victories.