Congruent headed to BC Juvenile

Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable’s Congruent, impressive winner of the $150,000 Laurel Futurity Oct. 1 at Laurel Park, will make his next start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.

Pre-entries were announced Wednesday for all 14 races worth more than $31 million in purses at the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 4 and 5 in Lexington, Ky. Congruent was also pre-entered in the $1 million Juvenile Turf (G1), where he has first preference but is the third of four also-eligibles in a field limited to 14 starters.

Congruent, trained by South Florida-based Antonio Sano, was among 12 horses pre-entered in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile that include Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series winners Blazing Sevens, Cave Rock and Forte.

“The decision has been made and he’s going to run on the dirt,” Lugamo’s Luis Gavignano said. “That’s a decision that actually we made this morning. In any of the races there’s going to be good horses. I know [Cave Rock] and [Forte] are good, but I think we have a good horse on our hands, as well. And he’s improving each day.”

A maiden special weight winner second time out in mid-August over his home track of Gulfstream Park, Congruent became a stakes winner in the Laurel Futurity, which was rained off the grass and contested at one mile on a sloppy and sealed main track.

Congruent settled in third behind pacesetter Splendor Beauty before gaining the lead in upper stretch and rolling to a 2 ½-length victory in the Laurel Futurity, which has a rich history dating back to inaugural 1921 winner Morvich, who would go on to capture the 1922 Kentucky Derby (G1).

ThevLaurel Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with such horses as Barbaro, In Reality, Honest Pleasure, Quadrangle, Riva Ridge, Spectacular Bid and Congruent’s sire, Tapit.

Bred in Kentucky by Tapit Syndicate and Glencrest Farm,Congruent has breezed twice since his victory in the Laurel Futurity. He went five furlongs in 1:00.98 over the main track at Parx Oct. 15, ranking seventh of 26 horses, and five-eighths on the Keeneland turf in 1:02.40 Oct. 22, third-fastest of six horses.

“We saw that there were so many entries in the turf race, I think he will be ineligible if we decide to go to the turf. If we race on the dirt, he will be automatically in,” Gavignano said. “He has run well on the dirt and he has breezed better on the dirt than the turf, to be honest with you. So, we like him better there.

Gavignano said Congruent is scheduled to breeze again Friday at Keeneland with jockey Luis Saez, who will be up for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup. A winner of nearly 3,100 career races, Saez’s only Breeders’ Cup victory came in the 2020 Juvenile aboard Essential Quality.

Congruent will be the first Breeders’ Cup starter for the owners. Sano has been to the Breeders’ Cup with Bon Accord, fourth in the 2013 Juvenile Turf, and Gunnevera, respectively running fifth and second in the 2017 and 2018 Classic (G1).

“These 2-year-olds, they change every day and they improve every day, and he’s doing that. He’s maturing every single week,” Gavignano said. “The adrenaline is building up every single day as we talk about this. This is a lifetime experience, and having a horse capable of running there and competing there is a very exciting time for us.”