Arlington Million

Million Candidate General Quarters to Prep in Stephen Foster

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/21/2010 #

In Today's Notes: 

  • Million Candidate General Quarters to Prep in Stephen Foster
  • Tale of the ‘Cat' Continues Consistently

Arlington Million candidate General Quarters, owned and trained by Tom McCarthy and hero of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic over the grass course at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, is being pointed for an intermediate return to the main track under the Twin Spires for Churchill's Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap June 12.

"The Arlington Million is still my main goal for the summer," said McCarthy Friday morning, speaking of the Grade I centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, "but I've got to get a race into him pretty soon to keep him on schedule.  That prep (Grade III Arlington Handicap) isn't until July 17.  He needs something between now and then.

"I really don't want to take him off the grass," said McCarthy, "but there's nothing (in the Midwest on the grass) coming up for him in the next couple of weeks.  I've been contacted by the people in New York (Belmont's Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap June 5) and the people in New Jersey (Grade I United Nations July 3), but I don't want to send the horse all the way up there.  That would be too hard on me and too hard on the horse."

General Quarters was credited with a half-mile breeze in 48.60 over the main track at Churchill Thursday morning, but that time was inaccurate, according to McCarthy.

"That time they gave him is wrong," said McCarthy.  "I got him in 46 and change and when the horse came back I asked Robby (jockey Albarado, aboard for the move) how he went and he indicated 46 and change.  We can't both be two seconds off. 

"The clockers have a bit of an angle working against them (at Churchill)," said McCarthy.  "I think they had so many horses going off at the same time that they might have mixed them up a little bit.

"The breeze went fine," said McCarthy.  "When (General Quarters) came back to the barn he wasn't even blowing, and he ate up everything that night.  However, I'm probably looking for a new rider.

"I was hoping I could get Robby to ride him (in the Stephen Foster) but he may have another commitment," McCarthy said.  "Then I called Bejarano (jockey Rafael, aboard General Quarters in Churchill's Turf Classic) and he has commitments in Southern California that day, so I don't know for sure who's going to ride him.  I haven't made up my mind just yet."

Veteran conditioner Wayne Catalano, Arlington Park's defending trainer champion of the last five years - as well as seven of the last eight seasons - has a colt entered in Saturday's 75th renewal of the $100,000 Arlington Classic and a filly slated for Saturday's third running of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas to help him in his quest for another local title in 2010.

The filly Chantilly Nayla was purchased by Team Valor International and Highfield Stock Farm shortly after her last start April 7, where she was easily second best in the Grade II Beaumont Stakes over Keeneland's Polytrack surface.

The daughter of Five Star Day has been in Catalano's barn for about three weeks and has worked three times over Arlington's Polytrack in anticipation of the American 1000 Guineas over Arlington's world famous grass course.  She has made one turf start previously in her seven-race career, winning a first-level allowance race over the Stall-Wilson turf course Fair Grounds.

"I noticed that," said Catalano of the New Orleans outing accomplished in his native hometown, although he has not witnessed that race.  "Hopefully, she can do that again Saturday.  She's worked three times for us since we got her, and she worked very well in that last move on Monday.  We're going to equip her with blinkers for Saturday's race."

Gary and Mary West's Call Shot, ironically a son of Tale of the Cat, is trained by the man who sports "Cat" as a nickname and is, uh, Cat's colt for the Classic.

Call Shot, coming off a poor performance in Keeneland's Grade II Lexington Stakes over the central Kentucky Polytrack, returns to the grass for Saturday's first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple over the local lawn.

"He ran very well in his first (and only) turf race last winter in Miami," said Catalano, speaking of the colt's third-place finish in the $100,000 Dania Beach over Gulfstream's grass Jan. 16 when overlooked in the wagering at 10-1.  "We're anxious to get him back on the grass."

In his pursuit for another Arlington championship after splitting with mega-owner Frank Calabrese before enjoying success on his own in 2009, Catalano put that transition in the proper perspective.

"Last year was the main year for pressure on us because it was our first year on our own and everyone was waiting to see if we could make it on our own," said Catalano.  "Our success last year was a feather in the whole outfit's cap, and a tribute to the wonderful owners we have."