Vinery shuttler Congrats sired a winning double with his first Kentucky bred two year-olds at Saratoga on the weekend.
His fillies Lamontagne and Magnificent Margo were both successful on turf over 1100 metres.
Congrats began Saratoga’s celebrated summer meeting with Tulira’s Star’s Group 3 placing in the Schuylerville Stakes and has now notched 6 2yo winners from 17 starters.
LAMONTAGNE (2f Congrats – Orion’s Daughter by Tactical Cat) scored an all-the-way victory for Wesley Ward who is the leading training of two year-olds in North America. She was challenged around the turn by Path Dependent and shook him off at the top of the lane. It looked a cinch passing the furlong but Path Dependent regrouped and made a final run at her to go down in a photo-finish.
“I knew she was going to be quick,” jockey John Velazquez said. “She definitely ran her heart out.”
Lamontagne is a filly by Congrats out of Orion’s Daughter and was bred in West Virginia by James Miller. She finished second at the six-furlong distance at Belmont on June 21, second at Woodbine in May and third at Keeneland in April.
As one of two fillies in the race, Velazquez believes her past experience served to benefit the horse on Friday.
“Definitely, she’s running against colts,” Velazquez told The Saratogian, “I tried to save her the best I could. I knew she was going to be quick and then at the quarter pole I started little by little with her and asked her if she had any pull. She definitely ran her heart out.”
Lamontagne cost Ward $95,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale and she is a three-quarter sister to Wickedly Perfect who helped launch Congrats with a Group 1 victory in the 2010 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.
MAGNIFICENT MARGO (2f Congrats – Holy Miss by Holy Bull) tracked the leaders first-up on Friday before angling into the clear to run down the Ward trained favourite To Be Determined.
She is a half-sister to Texas stakes winners General Charley and Truly Lucky and was an $80,000 buy for trainer Mike Maker at the Ocala 2YO Sale in April.
“I thought she might have needed a run,” Maker said. “I still think she does so it’s nice to see her get the job done.”
Congrats (A P Indy) began his stud career in Florida before moving to Kentucky after being crowned Champion USA Freshman Sire in 2010. Besides Wickedly Perfect, his first crop also starred G1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes winner Turbulent Descent.
Congrats has sired over 40 stakes performers in his first three crops and his winners-to-runners strike-rate is in the stratosphere at 73%. Vinery will stand him for $22,000 (inc gst) fee this year.