LEXINGTON, Ky. — General Quarters is heading to the Kentucky Derby.
The 3-year-old colt held off favorite Hold Me Back by 1½ lengths to win the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.
General Quarters, a graduate of Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, covered the 11/8 miles in 1:49.26.
"I think he exhibited the tenacity to go on to the Derby," trainer Thomas McCarthy said.
General Quarters won the Sam F. Davis on Feb. 14 at Tampa Bay Downs and finished fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby last month.
McCarthy was confident after a lively 5-furlong workout last weekend at Churchill Downs. "He trained like a champion all week, and after that breeze last week, I knew I had him right where I wanted him."
The 135th Kentucky Derby is May 2 in Louisville.
More thoroughbreds: At Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Papa Clem held off Old Fashioned to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby and earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Greyhounds: Tmc's Remedy of Filipelli & O'Donnell Kennel surged past Its Quillan in the final strides to win the 50th edition of the $100,000 Distance Classic at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. It was the first stakes win for Tmc's Remedy ($15.60), trained by John Filipelli for owner Eddie McDonald. Hi Noon Hypnotic was third. Winning time for 660 yards was 37.79 seconds. First place paid $32,000.
Times correspondent Don Jensen contributed to this report.