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Congruent won the 2023 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park, a prep race for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) worth 20 points to the winner. With the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning jockey Sonny Leon in the saddle, is the Antonio Sano-trained Tapit colt a sneaky long shot contender? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
One year ago, Kentucky Derby 148 hero Rich Strike came through Turfway Park before he qualified for the “Run for the Roses.” Now, his winning rider Sonny Leon could have himself another mount in the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) after winning Saturday’s $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial aboard improving 3-year-old Congruent.
Owned by Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable and trained by Antonio Sano, Congruent completed the 1 1/16-mile John Battaglia Memorial distance in 1:43.02.
Congruent broke from post No. 12 and was relegated to last early after dueling leaders American Speed and Eyes on the King swiftly completed a quarter-mile fraction of 22.94. Up the backside, American Speed separated himself from his speedy rival and clipped a half-mile time of :45.93. While the pace was fast up front, Congruent and Leon settled about eight lengths off the early proceedings. Around the 3/8ths pole, American Speed began to falter as Bromley and Moon Landing inherited the lead. Congruent and Leon tracked three wide around the turn and tipped four wide in the stretch. In deep stretch, Congruent swept by his rivals and confidently opened up late for a 3 ½-length victory.
“Turfway Park is home and I’m so glad to be back,” Leon said. “It’s so exciting to come back home and win this race after Rich Strike ran well in it last year. Tonight, up the backside, (Congruent) was a little keen to go on with things but I wanted to wait for another two or three furlongs. He was full of run and really opened up late in the stretch.”
While Congruent wasn’t 82-1 in the John Battaglia Memorial like Rich Strike was in the Kentucky Derby, he still paid a hefty $35, $11.08 and $7.94. Scoobie Quando, who was last at the top of the stretch, rallied for second under jockey Luan Machado and paid $6.06 and $3.72. Bromley and jockey Gerardo Corrales held third and returned $6.04.
Moon Landing completed the superfecta followed in order by Gilmore, Eyes On the King, Accident, Aristocracy, Good Heart, Freezing Point and American Speed.
The top 5 finishers were awarded points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale. Bromley is not Triple Crown nominated but if his connections pay a $6,000 late fee, his 6 points would be officially added to the leaderboard.
Congruent is a 3-year-old gray son of Tapit out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Part the Seas. He was bred in Kentucky by the Tapit Syndicate and Glencrest Farm.
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