I have a sentimental favorite in this year's derby. Bluegrass Stakes winner General Quarters is my pick. Retired Jefferson County high school principal Tom McCarthy is the reason. It would be great to see this gentle man school the bigger barns with a win.
This from John Clay in the Herald Leader, photo and a nice (1:28) video by David Stephenson here:
"Perhaps wanting to get in on some of the love himself...
There are people around his barn, always around Barn 37, as they were Tuesday morning watching the one-man work force that is 75-year-old Tom McCarthy giving the star of his one-horse barn, General Quarters, a proper bath.
“We’re behind you Tom,” yelled a gawker.
There are the 100-or-so letters on his desk back home at the farm, the ones from former students and colleagues and people he doesn’t know, all wishing the former high school principal well.
“I’m going to sit down and try and (answer) them one day,” said McCarthy.
There are the other participants in this 135th Kentucky Derby, who can’t help but smile when you bring up the name of the $20,000 claimer who won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland three weeks back and, who knows, might just win on
“You’ve got to just be in love with that story, even if you’re not even a sports fan,” said David Lanzman, co-owner of Derby favorite I Want Revenge. “If I didn’t have a horse in the race, I’d be cheering for his horse to win.”
My mother was a principal,” said Bob Baffert, the three-time Derby winning trainer who has Pioneer of the Nile in this year’s race. “Watching him win those races, you know he’s just loving it. It’s fantastic.” ...