Laurel Futurity Winner Congruent on Triple Crown Trail

March 9, 2023

Congruent winning the Laurel Futurity. (Jim McCue/MJC)

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club)

LAUREL, Md. – Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable’s Congruent, winner of the Laurel Futurity last fall at Laurel Park, is on the Triple Crown trail following his upset victory in the John Battaglia Memorial March 4 at Turfway Park.

Based in South Florida with trainer Antonio Sano, Congruent trailed the field through six furlongs in the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia before unleashing a wide rally to go last-to-first and win by 3 ½ lengths at odds of 16-1 under jockey Sonny Leon.

“He came out of it like any other race. He was not tired at all, he was behaving. He was really, really good, actually. We were very impressed with his performance,” Lugamo’s Luis Gavignano said. “We were also very impressed with the connection between Sonny Leon and the horse. That was the first time that he rode the horse, and they got along really well together. Really, really well.”

Leon, who upset the 2022 Kentucky Derby on 80-1 long shot Rich Strike, will get the return call when Congruent returns to Turfway’s all-weather surface for the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) March 25.

An early nominee to the Triple Crown, Congruent earned 20 qualifying points to the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1), ranking him 12th on the list. The top 20-point earners gain a spot in the Derby.

“We are dreaming, and I think we are dreaming with a good reason,” Gavignano said. “Because, with the way that he won, I think that he can have a really good race in the next one at the same track on the same surface, most likely with likely the same contenders, more or less. I think we have a good chance to qualify directly to the Kentucky Derby. And having Sonny Leon again on the horse will help a lot.”

Gavignano said Congruent returned to Gulfstream Park following the Battaglia to train for the Jeff Ruby, which will be his fifth start since running eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 4. He was also third in the Dec. 10 Pulpit, fourth in the Jan. 7 Dania Beach and sixth in the Feb. 4 Kitten’s Joy (G3), all on the Gulfstream turf.

Congruent became a stakes winner in the Oct. 1 Laurel Futurity, which was rained off the grass to a sloppy and sealed main track. Dismissed at odds of nearly 11-1, the gray or roan son of Grade 1 winner Tapit raced close to the pace before taking over at the top of the stretch and going on to win by 2 ½ lengths.

The Laurel Futurity has a rich history dating back to inaugural 1921 winner Morvich, who would go on to win the 1922 Kentucky Derby. The Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with Barbaro, In Reality, Honest Pleasure, Quadrangle, Riva Ridge, Spectacular Bid and Tapit. It has been run primarily on turf since 2004.

“We are very excited. I think the way that he performed last time it looks like he really matured and he’s really more like a 3-year-old,” Gavignano said. “We know that he has the talent. He’s improving every day.”

@PastTheWire you did do her justice, this is a great read on a tragic moment in the history of our great sport, thank you.

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