Updates from the Baffert Barn: Sarava, General Challenge, Congaree

Updates from the Baffert Barn: Sarava, General Challenge, Congaree
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Sarava, expected for Del Mar's Pacific Classic.
Last year's longshot Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Sarava is being prepared for a probable start in this summer's Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar, trainer Bob Baffert said. The 4-year-old son of Wild Again hasn't raced since capturing the third jewel of the Triple Crown more than a year ago and was scratched from an allowance event at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week last month.

"He's back here in California," Baffert said. "He developed an abscess when he was in Kentucky, but was ready to run and then he blew out a quarter. But he's back in full training and will be ready to run at Del Mar and in the Pacific Classic."

Sarava, who also won the 2002 Sir Barton Stakes by four lengths as a prep for the Belmont, suffered a fractured cannon bone in July of last year and spent more than six months on the shelf. He was transferred to Baffert's care from trainer Ken McPeek in December so that the California-based conditioner could train the colt over the same track that will host the 2003 World Thoroughbred Championships.

Kentucky-bred Sarava, who began his career in England, has three wins and three seconds from nine starts for a career bankroll of $696,852.

Baffert also said that Golden Eagle Farms' millionaire homebred General Challenge, who finished fifth out of six, beaten 9 ½ lengths, in an allowance event at Hollywood Park on Saturday, will also likely wait until Del Mar before his next start. The 7-year-old California-bred gelding also finished unplaced in the Tiznow Stakes in April in his first start off a two-year layoff before Saturday's 1 1/16-mile allowance.

"He's fine, he just needs more time," Baffert said. "He'll be back at Del Mar, too."

Stonerside Stables' Congaree, who came out of his unplaced finish in the Met Mile (gr. I) late last month with a sore stifle after hitting it hard on the gate at the break, is back jogging and doing very well, according to Baffert. The trainer indicated that the 5-year-old son of Arazi may be ready for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) at Hollywood Park on Sunday, July 13.

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