Horseman Tom McCarthy, celebrated for his ‘claim to fame’ story as owner and trainer of GI Toyota Blue Grass S. and GI Woodford Reserve Turf Classic winner General Quarters (Sky Mesa), died July 21 after a battle with stage four melanoma, the Kentucky HBPA confirmed Thursday. The retired high school principal was 82 years old.
McCarthy claimed General Quarters out of his career debut for $20,000 in May of 2008. The gray went on to win the 2009 Blue Grass as a precursor to a 10th-place finish in the GI Kentucky Derby less than one month later. General Quarters returned to Churchill Downs on Derby day the following year to win the Turf Classic, the final win of his 27-start career. He currently stands at stud at Crestwood Farm in Kentucky.
McCarthy typically maintained a small operation, and won three times from 17 starts in 2016. His final entry came June 19 at Churchill. Funeral arrangements are pending.