General Quarters rebounds
General Quarters is heading home to the Kentucky Derby.
The 3-year-old colt overtook pacesetter Join in the Dance at the top of the stretch, then held off favorite Hold Me Back by 1 1/2 lengths to win the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes yesterday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
General Quarters, owned and trained by retired Louisville principal Thomas McCarthy and ridden by Eibar Coa, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.26 and paid $30.60, $11, and $7.
General Quarters struggled in his last start, a fifth place in the Tampa Bay Derby last month, when he seemed rattled by running in traffic.
Coa pushed forward early, just off the shoulder of Join in the Dance. He stalked the leader on the backstretch and made his move at the turn, pulling ahead at the top of the stretch, then digging in when Hold Me Back started to close.
"He was very professional," Coa said. "He showed today he's going to be ready for [the Derby]."
Arkansas Derby - Papa Clem won the Arkansas Derby, holding off Old Fashioned in the stretch to hand the one-time Kentucky Derby favorite his second straight defeat at Oaklawn Park.
Long shot Summer Bird closed to take third.
Old Fashioned, trained by Larry Jones, began the year on everybody's list of top 3-year-olds. He finished second in the Rebel to 56-1 shot Win Willy, but the pace was difficult in that race, and he didn't have enough left in the stretch.