07/07/2003 11:00PM

General Challenge retired


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The veteran gelding General Challenge, a multiple Grade 1 winner who failed to return to form in three subpar races this spring at Hollywood Park, has been retired to Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona, Calif.

The 7-year-old California-bred, whose Grade 1 wins included the Santa Anita Derby and Pacific Classic in 1999 and the 2000 Santa Anita Handicap, finished eighth and last in a classified allowance Saturday at Hollywood that was the final start of his career.

Trained by Bob Baffert, General Challenge went to the sidelines in summer 2000 and did not race again for two and a half years. He returned April 26 at Hollywood Park to finish last in the Tiznow Stakes, and failed to improve in two subsequent starts. Bred in California by the late John Mabee and his wife, Betty, General Challenge ends his career having won nine races and $2,877,178 from 21 career starts.

"He's earned his keep," said Golden Eagle Farm racing manager Walter Solis.