Trainer Tom McCarthy, who became a sentimental favorite when he conditioned former claimer General Quarters to victory in the 2009 Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, died on Thursday after a battle with melanoma. McCarthy was 82.
A retired school teacher and principal, McCarthy became the darling of the 2009 Kentucky Derby season with his one-horse stable that stunned the racing community. McCarthy claimed General Quarters as a 2-year-old in May 2008. The following winter, General Quarters put himself on the Triple Crown trail when he won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and two starts later, he sparked one of the more emotional celebrations at Keeneland when he captured the Blue Grass Stakes at odds of 14-1.
General Quarters would go on finish 10th in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and ninth in the Preakness Stakes. The son of Sky Mesa, now a stallion at Crestwood Farm, would return the following year to take the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and retired with $1,226,655 in earnings.
A native of Connecticut, McCarthy served as the principal of three Louisville high schools before retiring to train horses full time.
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McCarthy is survived by his wife, Patricia and their five children. Services were pending as of Thursday.