Jockey Russell Baze guided undistinguished Congressionalhonor around a traffic jam in the stretch to score a trouble-free 2 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT) on a yielding course Saturday.
In a roughly run stretch drive, original third-place finisher Hendrix, the 6-5 favorite who finished a nose behind runner-up Talaris, was disqualified from third and placed last in the field of eight.
Jerry Hollendorfer trains Congressionalhonor, who scored in his stakes debut at odds of 9-1. Talaris, who led for most of the 1 1/8-mile journey, held on for second. On the Acorn, who was cut off by Hendrix while making a move along the inside, was moved up from fourth in a bunched finish that included five horses. Rules of War was placed fourth. The final time was 1:48 4/5.
Congressionalhonor, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred gray/roan by Forsestry, was unhurried early but came bursting around the pack leaving the eighth pole to win easily.
Big Squeeze led early before taking back behind Talaris, who clicked off fractions of :23 1/5, :47 1/5 and 1:11 4/5 with Dennis Carr aboard. Talaris was still in front in the stretch but coming under assault from all sides.
Hendrix, forced to check repeatedly as he raced on the inside, joined challengers Big Squeeze and Kingdom Come. Despite restraint from Garrett Gomez, Hendrix bumped repeatedly while looking for room between horses. Finding none there, they tried to resume the rail slot, finally forcing their way through. The move caused repeated bumping with On the Acorn, who was rallying smartly but was blocked.
None of that affected Congressionalhonor, who was racing uncovered behind the leading group as they reached the stretch. Congressionalhonor angled wide and charged down the center of the track to assume command leaving the furlong pole.
Congressionalhonor broke his maiden at Solano County Fair July 14, his only prior victory. He was coming off of a second-place finish in a $40,000 optional claiming event, beaten by a neck on a wet fast track at Bay Meadows Oct. 2. The colt holds a 2-2-2 mark in eight starts and has earned $94,388 for owners Rancho San Miguel, Norma Anderson, Hollendorfer et al.
Bred by Edward P. Evans, he's out of the Quiet American
mare Quiet Dance. He was bought for $67,000 at Keeneland in 2002.
Congressionalhonor paid $20.40, $8 and $4.40 as the fourth favorite in the field. Talaris returned $19.80 and $11.20 while completing a $171.40 exacta. On the Acorn was $4.20 to show.
Rules of War, New Course, Kingdom Come and Big Squeeze were all placed ahead of Hendrix.