Stonerside Stables' grade 1 winner Congaree will likely race next in the $350,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct on April 12, trainer Bob Baffert said. The 5-year-old son of Arazi finished second by a nose to Milwaukee Brew in the Mar. 1 Santa Anita Handicap (gr.) in his last start.
Under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes, Congaree worked a bullet five furlongs in :57 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
"I'm going to make a final decision after I see the weights," Baffert said.
Congaree is undefeated in two starts over Aqueduct's main track, having won last year's Cigar Mile (gr. I) and the 2001 edition of the Wood Memorial (gr. II). He also earned victories in the 2001 Swaps Stakes (gr. I), 2002 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. II), 2002 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and 2003's San Antonio (gr. II) and San Pasqual Handicaps (gr. II). As a 3-year-old, he was classic-placed twice, finishing third in both the 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
From 17 career starts, Congaree has reached the winner's circle nine times, with a second and four thirds, for earnings of $2,073,400.
Congaree is scheduled to work next week at Santa Anita before being flown to New York on Tuesday, along with Wood Memorial hopeful During. Baffert also reserved spots on the same plane for Robert and Beverly Lewis' recent purchase Senor Swinger, who is possible for the Wood, as well as Truckle Feature, who may turn up in the seven-furlong Bay Shore Stakes (gr. II) on the Wood/Carter undercard. If Truckle Feature bypasses the Bay Shore, Baffert said the Apr. 26 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs will be the colt's next probable start.
Baffert also said that Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. III) runner-up Atlantic Ocean will prep for a probable start in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in the Apr. 13 Providencia Stakes, a nine-furlong turf test that carries a purse of $150,000.