12/29/2009 12:00AM

McCarthy mulls options for General Quarters

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General Quarters did not win his comeback race on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but his return to the races following a long injury layoff could easily be called a success. Racing at a six-furlong distance shorter than his best, General Quarters finished second by a half-length to heavily favored Tempo Five, who in his most recent start had finished second to Euroears in the Thanksgiving Handicap.

Racing surprisingly close to a quick pace, General Quarters stayed on well through the stretch, but was outfinished by rallying Tempo Five, a defeat that should move General Quarters forward into 2010.

"This horse will do better going a route of ground," owner-trainer Tom McCarthy told the Fair Grounds publicity staff.

McCarthy indicated he will look at the Jan. 23 Louisiana Handicap and the Mineshaft Handicap on Feb. 20.

"It will be one or the other of those races, or possibly both," McCarthy said.

Tempo Five, meanwhile, continues to hold strong form, and now has two wins and a second at the meet. Trainer Tom Amoss said Tempo Five would be nominated to the Jan. 23 Gaudin Stakes, a six-furlong sprint.

* Robby Albarado, out of action since Dec. 12, is scheduled to return to racing on Thursday's card. Albarado injured his lower back when he was thrown during a Fair Grounds post parade.

* James Graham continues to hold a narrow lead in the Fair Grounds jockey standings. Graham has ridden 28 winners, two more than surging Corey Lanerie. Shane Sellers has 25 victories at the meet.