07/21/2016 11:10AM

McCarthy, owner and trainer of General Quarters, dies at 82


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tom McCarthy, whose success as the owner and trainer of the rags-to-riches horse General Quarters was one of the top feel-good stories in racing in recent times, died early Thursday from melanoma. He was 82.

McCarthy was a retired high school teacher and principal who had dabbled in racing in his later years when he claimed General Quarters for $20,000 as a 2-year-old in May 2008 at Churchill Downs. General Quarters went on to win the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland the following spring, thrusting McCarthy into the spotlight for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The gray colt finished 10th at 10-1 in the Derby, won by Mine That Bird.

“Tom was a truly great man, very humble and kind,” said Jerry Hills, a close friend who assisted McCarthy with his small stable at Churchill and, in later years, at the nearby Trackside training center.

General Quarters won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the 2010 Derby undercard before retiring with earnings of $1,226,655 from 27 career starts. McCarthy retained an ownership interest for the horse’s stud career.

McCarthy is survived by his wife and five adult children. Memorial services were pending Thursday.

Frank 8 months ago
quite a story when he had General Quarters -- such an honest and tough horse.

Good man he seemed -- RIP