(Stakes recaps by Kevin Kerstein. Coady photo of Congruent winning Turfway Park’s John Battaglia)
FLORENCE, Ky. (Saturday, March 4, 2023) – 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.
Racing will resume from Turfway Park on Thursday for an eight-race card. First post is 5:55 p.m. ET
On Saturday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved Turfway Park to race Wednesday, March 15 to make up the cancellation from Friday due to high winds.
For more information about racing from Turfway Park, visit www.TurfwayPark.com.
BOTANICAL CRUSHES FIELD IN $150,000 CINCINNATI TROPHY STAKES – LNJ Foxwoods and Clearsky Farms’ Botanical made a bold move at the head of the lane to easily defeat her six rivals by 6 ½ lengths in Saturday’s $150,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at Turfway Park.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Chris Landeros, Botanical completed a one-mile time of 1:36.51
It was an eventful beginning to the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes as jockey David Haldar’s saddle slipped on the speedy B G Warrior causing her to skitter to an early 4 ½-length lead. While B G Warrior completed a swift opening quarter-mile of :22.95 and half-mile of :45.65, Botanical and Landeros saved ground at the rail and bided their time in third. Around the far turn, Botanical was angled wide and easily took command of the race.
“She’s a very talented filly,” Landeros said. “When I saw B G Warrior go out to the lead like that, I just let (Botanical) settle. I had a ton of horse beneath me and had all the confidence in the world in her. I can’t wait to see where she goes next. She’s got a very bright future.”
With her victory in the Cincinnati Trophy, Botanical earned 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Jill Jitterbug, ridden by Manny Esquivel, finished second to earn 8 points. B G Warrior held third for 6 points while Bulsara and Miss Peabody completed the Top 5 and earned 4 and 2 points, respectively. Jill Jitterbug, B G Warrior, Bulsara and Miss Peabody were not made early nominees for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) but if their connections pay a late payment of $1,500 by April 15, their points will be reflected on the leaderboard.
Botanical was well-backed at odds of 4-5 and paid $2 mutuel prices of $3.90, $3 and $2.76. Jill Jitterbug returned $11.74 and
$5.30. B G Warrior paid $5.08.
Botanical improved her record to 5-3-1-0 and has now banked earnings of $196,610. Botanical is a 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the Blame mare Daisy. She was bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farm and Godolphin.
Fun and Feisty and Moon Magic Chrissy completed the order of finish.