Baffert Looks for More From Congaree

(from track report)
Congaree won his last two races by a combined margin of 11 ½ lengths, but trainer Bob Baffert doesn't think they were the horse's best efforts.

That should raise concern for Congaree's five rivals in Sunday's $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita for older horses at 1 1/8 miles.

Congaree, to be ridden by Jerry Bailey, drew the rail and will carry top weight of 123 pounds, spotting his opponents between three and 11 pounds at what is considered his ideal distance.

Congaree has earned $1,732,400 for the Stonerside Stable of Robert McNair. The chestnut homebred has won eight times in 15 career starts.

"The Wood and the (Kentucky) Derby (both gr. I) were the best races of his life," Baffert said of the 5-year-old son of Arazi.

Considering Congaree was only third in the Derby, despite prompting the pace throughout, while he won the Cigar Mile (gr. I) by 5 ½ lengths and the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) by six in his last two races, Baffert's opinion of the Wood and the Derby could be considered a mouthful.

"He relaxed last time, so that's the big thing," Baffert said of Congaree's smashing victory in the San Pasqual on Jan. 4. "Can he do it again? We'll have to see. But pace wise (for the San Antonio) we're doing good. I've got Bailey, so I can sleep at night."

Milwaukee Brew, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) 11months ago for owner Frank Stronach and trainer Bobby Frankel, carries 120 pounds and will have the services of jockey Edgar Prado.

Milwaukee Brew will be making his first start since he finished third in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

$250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II), 4 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Rider, Wgt.
1. Congaree, Jerry Bailey, 123
2. Fleetstreet Dancer, Tyler Baze, 112
3. Piensa Sonando, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117
4. Cottage, Mike Smith, 112
5. Milwaukee Brew, Edgar Prado, 120
6. Pleasantly Perfect, Alex Solis, 117