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Princeville wins Diliberto; General Quarters second in return

Princeville Condo (far side) just held on from Pick Six (Lou Hodges Jr./Fair Grounds Race Course)
Barr Three and Cherrywood Racing Stable's PRINCEVILLE CONDO (Morluc) made his stakes debut a winning one in Saturday's $60,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial H. at Fair Grounds, rallying from off the pace to win by a head. Conditioned in the Midwest by Michele Boyce, the Illinois-bred gelding compiled a respectable 9-5-3-1 mark while competing against mostly allowance rivals at Arlington Park and Churchill Downs. He was shipped to trainer Greg Geier's barn at Fair Grounds this winter so Boyce could see how well he'd perform on grass against stakes-quality competition, and the four-year-old passed his initial test with flying colors, completing the about 1 1/16-mile affair over good turf in 1:47 4/5.

"I rode him with absolute confidence," winning jockey Francisco Torres said. "When I rode him in that race the other day at Churchill (on November 24), he got boxed in and steadied, but still was able to win it. I tried to ride a smart race today, and it worked out, so he ran a very good race."

Off as the 7-1 seventh choice among 10 betting interests, Princeville Condo paid $16.80, $8.40 and $6 and increased his lifetime earnings to $172,670 with his sixth career victory. Pick Six (Dynaformer) closed from last for runner-up honors as the 9-2 second choice as part of an entry, and it was a length back to 23-1 outsider Swains News (Swain [Ire]), who held for third after setting early fractions of :24 4/5, :50 2/5, 1:15 1/5 and 1:41 1/5.

"We'll keep him here for the season and keep going with the turf stakes series here," said Geier, who will eventually turn the horse back over to Boyce.

Earlier on the program, Blue Grass (G1) winner and Triple Crown veteran GENERAL QUARTERS (Sky Mesa) returned to the races with a half-length second to the heavily-favored Tempo Five (Five Star Day) in a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming test. Unraced since a ninth in the Preakness (G1), the gray colt pressed the pace before being outfinished late by the Tom Amoss-trained winner. Tempo Five, who was exiting a good second to Euroears (Langfuhr) in the Thanksgiving H., stopped the teletimer over the fast track in 1:10 2/5 with jockey James Graham, notching his first stakes win in the process. The 3-5 choice returned $3.20, $2.10 and $2.10.

General Quarters, who is owned and trained by 76-year-old former high school principal Tom McCarthy, also captured the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) earlier this season and finished second in both the Pasco S. and Inaugural S. He was 10th of 19 runners in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

"This race today was too short for him," said Jose Riquelme, who rode General Quarters for the first time on Saturday. "He needs two turns."

The $75,000 Louisiana H. on January 23, the Mineshaft H. (G3) on February 20 and the New Orleans H. (G2) on March 27 are all possible targets for General Quarters.


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