An old favorite General Quarters (now 5-yrs old) almost snagged a Grade 2 victory which would've been his first win since taking the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 2010. However it wasn't to be.
The good thing is that Tom McCarthy (GQ's owner/trainer) has fixed a problem plaguing him in his last couple of poor efforts. His tongue hasn't been properly tied and thus he bled badly making him cease running. Fixed properly this time it clearly did the trick.
Anyhow the 5-yr old was bested by 7-year old, Future Prospect, and as The Daily Racing Form pointed out General Quarter's owner/trainer at 78-yrs old was bested by another owner/trainer at 76-yrs old D.H. Skaggs who won his first graded stakes as a trainer in his 42 year career with the effort was rather emotional on TVG when interviewed.
The 76-year-old owner-trainer [D.H. Skaggs] sent out Future Prospect to beat General Quarters – owned and trained by 78-year-old Tom McCarthy – in the 17th running of the Turfway Park showcase, giving Skaggs the first graded stakes triumph of a 42-year training career.
Skaggs was near tears in the wild aftermath of the 1 1/16-mile WinStar. “This old horse has been really good to me,” he said.
Future Prospect, by Freud, was a standout in the statebred ranks in his younger days before suffering an injury in the fall of 2009 in the Empire Classic. It took Skaggs nearly 17 months to get him back to action, and the gelding had gradually come back into good form, having won three straight allowance races entering the WinStar.
Future Prospect, now a winner in 14 of 29 career starts, earned $90,210, lifting his career bankroll just past $475,000.
Skaggs, based in Louisville throughout his low-profile career, was cheered on by a host of friends and family members in a boisterous winner’s circle. “It’s a pretty great feeling,” he said.
McCarthy said he was happy with the way General Quarters, a 10-1 shot ridden by Jamie Theriot, rebounded off two subpar efforts. “I wish it had been 1 1/8 miles because he wants it just a bit longer,” he said. “I’m happy, though. The horse likes when the weather turns cool like this.”
he nation wasn't buzzing about Skaggs or his 18-1 shot (longest in an eight horse field) in the hours before the Grade 2 event. The 77-year-old Tom McCarthy was only slightly better-regarded at 10-1 with his General Quarters, a two-time Grade 1 winner whose better days seemed behind him after two seventh-place finishes. Combine the age of the owner-trainers who completed the $406.40 exacta and you come up with 153; two lifetimes of experience wrapped up in what has become the focus of their golden years -- single-horse stables.
These old-timers stole the show at Turfway Park last weekend as their gritty runners did the same, finishing one-two in a race that itself had been on the shelf for a year due to economic issues. Brought back by the sponsorship of WinStar Farm, the 2011 Kentucky Cup went down in the books as one worth remembering, if only for the remarkable nature of the result.
“It’s time,” said McCarthy, 77. “He walked over there Friday like an old cow. Usually, he’s all full of vim and vigor, so maybe he’s telling us something. Funny, but he was kicking the barn down this morning [Monday]. He’s done enough for me, that’s for sure. He gave me one of the best times of my life, and I’ve been working with horses since I was 9.”
General Quarters, by Sky Mesa, won just 4 of 27 starts, but two of his wins were huge, coming in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland as a 3-year-old of 2009 and in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the 2010 Derby undercard. His career earnings were $1,226,655.
McCarthy claimed General Quarters for $20,000 from his career debut in May 2008 at Churchill.