09/17/2011 10:29AM

Turfway Park: General Quarters staying on Polytrack for WinStar Kentucky Cup

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
General Quarters will prep for the Breeders' Cup in next Saturday's $200,000 WinStar Kentucky Cup.

General Quarters will stay on a synthetic surface in his attempt to make the Breeders’ Cup when he runs Saturday as one of the favorites in the $200,000 WinStar Kentucky Cup, the showcase event in the newly revived Kentucky Cup series at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Owned and trained by 77-year-old Tom McCarthy, General Quarters ran seventh in each of his last two races, the July 4 Firecracker Handicap on the Churchill Downs turf and the Sept. 3 Washington Park Handicap on Polytrack at Arlington Park. The 5-year-old horse is a multiple Grade 1 winner with earnings of nearly $1.2 million.

“The last race was disappointing, because he bit his tongue in two places and bled really badly in his mouth, which hindered his breathing,” McCarthy said. “We think it had to do with the tongue-tie, and we think we’ve made the right adjustments. I really want to make the Breeders’ Cup with him, although frankly I haven’t decided on which spot in particular. He’s training good, going good. We’ll just give him a couple of two-minute licks and that should be all he needs before we go up there to Turfway.”

General Quarters is one of at least six older horses pointing to the WinStar Kentucky Cup, formerly known as the Classic. The others are Baryshnikov, Demarcation, Future Prospect, Strike Impact, and Workin for Hops, according to Turfway stakes coordinator Tia Murphy. A number of other notables are among the 32 nominations to the 1 1/16-mile race, including six horses trained by Mike Maker and five by Todd Pletcher. Entries for all Saturday races will be drawn Thursday.

The other four Kentucky Cup races all are worth $100,000 and will carry the name of a WinStar stallion as part of their race name. They are the Grade 3 Distaff, Grade 3 Sprint, Juvenile, and Juvenile Fillies.

Besides purse earnings, the Distaff also will offer free seasons to WinStar stallions for the owners of the first three finishers.

TVG will be on hand throughout the day with Mike Joyce, Tom Amoss, and Donna Barton Brothers providing commentary. The Kentucky Cup will be the only Saturday afternoon card of the 16-day Turfway meet, with the first race going at 1:10 p.m. Eastern.