Congaree Faces Tough Field in San Pasqual

Stonerside Stables' Congaree, smashing 5 ½-length winner of the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, faces a daunting task as the 121-pound high weight when he takes on 10 seasoned stakes campaigners in Saturday's $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (Gr. II) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.

Congaree, a 5-year-old son of Arazi trained by Bob Baffert, drew post position No. 6 in the field of 11. Jerry Bailey, who was aboard for the Cigar Mile victory, will ride him.

Among Congaree's rivals in the San Pasqual, an important starting point toward the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. 1) on Mar. 1, are stakes winners Euchre, Freedom Crest, Hot Market, Kudos and Piensa Sonando.

Hot Market, the likely pacesetter in the race with Kent Desormeaux riding, drew the post immediately to Congaree's outside.

This will mark the 66th running of the San Pasqual, which has been won in the past by such stalwarts as Twilight Agenda, Farma Way, Criminal Type, Precisionist, Ancient Title, Ack Ack and Native Diver.

Freedom Crest, who has risen from the claiming ranks under trainer Richard Baltas, won the San Pasqual in 2001.

$150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II), 4 & up, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Kudos, Alex Solis, 119
2. Freedom Crest, Jose Valdivia Jr., 115
3. Cottage, Mike Smith, 114
4. Fleetstreet Dancer, Tyler Baze, 112
5. Kela, Corey Nakatani, 115
6. Congaree, Jerry Bailey, 121
7. Hot Market, Kent Desormeaux, 116
8. Piensa Sonando, Laffit Pincay Jr., 118
9. Nose The Trade, David Flores, 115
10. Mercenary, Victor Espinoza, 113
11. Euchre, Pat Valenzuela, 116

The $100,000 Pro Or Con Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on the turf is the supporting feature Saturday, being run as the third race.

One to watch for his Sweet Frippery.

Sweet Frippery registered the most impressive win of her career when she won an allowance race on the turf at Golden Gate by eight lengths on Dec. 5.

The 4-year-old daughter of Moscow Ballet was fifth in her only previous stakes try, the California Cup Distance Handicap last Nov. 2, but she had excuses.

"The jock lost his whip and she was extremely wide, so we're going to give them another shot," said trainer Mark Glatt. "I've had this filly since day one. She's been very green and a late developer. But her Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each and every start. She wasn't as good as she is now when she got beat two lengths in the Cal Cup.

Glatt, who turns 30 on Jan. 8, is satisfied with the filly's weight assignment and thrilled at obtaining the services of Julie Krone.

"The way she's riding these days, getting Julie Krone is a big bonus," Glatt said. "Plus, the horse gets in very light (113 pounds), which Julie can do, so we'll see what happens."

$100,000 Pro or Con Handicap, fillies & mares 4 & up, 1 mile on turf
1. Jenna's Joy, Tyler Baze, 114
2. Icee Chesapeake, Jose Valdivia Jr., 112
3. Shalini, Corey Nakatani, 117
4. Serene In Seattle, Julie Krone, 114
5. Elaine's Angel, Alex Solis, 120
6. Top Of Our Game, Mike Smith, 117
7. Calzada Kid, Pat Valenzuela, 115
8. Nicole's Pursuit, Kent Desormeaux, 117