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General Quarters Preparing for Battle of New Orleans 'Cap
General Quarters’ owner-trainer Tom McCarthy reported for duty early at Fair Grounds’ Barn 35 Sunday morning to check on his Blue Grass Stakes winner who returned to competition Saturday afternoon in his first start since last spring’s Preakness.
“My horse ran a good race yesterday,” said McCarthy of his personable gray colt’s second place finish in Saturday’s six furlong sprint, “and he came out of the race just fine. Last night he was making me do a street dance just to keep up with him when he was cooling out and then he ate up his dinner just fine.
“He’s always been a chow hound,” said McCarthy, “so he cleaned up his breakfast like he always does this morning, and once again he absolutely pulled me around the barn.
“This horse will do better going a route of ground,” said McCarthy, “so I’m looking at either the ($75,000) Louisiana Handicap (Jan. 23) for his next start or possibly the (Grade III) Mineshaft Handicap on Feb. 20. It will be one or the other of those races or possibly both.”
The ultimate goal of the winter campaign for General Quarters is the Grade II $500,000 New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day, March 27.
“Fair Grounds has a very good schedule for horses once they become 4-year-olds,” said McCarthy. “That’s why we decided to come to New Orleans this winter rather than go back to Tampa.”
McCarthy, a native of Louisville, Ky., took General Quarters to Tampa last winter to win the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and then finish fifth in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby.
Tempo Five in Fine Fettle Sunday Morning
Hunter Run Stable’s Tempo Five, who defeated Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters by a half-length in Saturday’s co-feature at Fair Grounds, also came out of Saturday’s effort in good order, according to trainer Tom Amoss.
“He’s doing real well this morning,” said Amoss of his sprinter. “What’s next? The (F.W.) Gaudin Memorial (at six furlongs Jan. 23) is certainly a possibility. He’ll be nominated for that. That’s for sure.”
Jockey James Graham, who has ridden Tempo Five in his last two starts, was positive in his reviews of Saturday’s win.
“This is a very good horse,” Graham said. “He met Euroears in his last start ($60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap) and gave that horse everything he could handle.”
Euroears, hero of Fair Grounds’ F.W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes, Colonel Power Stakes and Duncan F. Kenner Stakes two seasons ago, bested Tempo Five by a length and a half when they finished first and second in last month’s Thanksgiving Handicap.
Super Hi-5 Makes Successful Saturday Debut at Fair Grounds
Fair Grounds’ new Super Hi-5 wager, which was installed for the first time on the day after Christmas at the New Orleans oval, provided a carryover pool of $4,406 going into the last race Sunday.
If there are no perfect tickets on a Super Hi-5, 75-percent of the pool carries over to the next day. The remainder is paid out as a consolation. Saturday’s consolation paid $1,468.90 for a $1 ticket that correctly selected the first four finishers and had any horse in the fifth position.