Congaree, winning the 2001 Wood Memorial.

Congaree, winning the 2001 Wood Memorial.

Turf Not in Congaree's Future; Passes on Firecracker

Edited release from Churchill Downs
Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) winner Congaree, third in the 2001 Kentucky Derby, will not make his turf debut in Churchill Downs' Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. II) on July 4 as previously planned.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Monday that the 4-year-old Arazi colt would skip the $100,000-added, one-mile Firecracker and ship back to his Santa Anita base to focus on races on the main track.

"Pat Day worked him over the grass there last week and he wasn't impressed with how he got over it," said Baffert, speaking by telephone from Santa Anita. "So we're going to pass on that race and bring him back to California."

Baffert said Congaree, sixth to Street Cry as the beaten favorite in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs, would now point to the $250,000-added San Diego Handicap (gr. II) on Aug. 4 and the $1 million Pacific Classic Handicap (gr. I) on Aug. 25, both at Del Mar, as his primary goals of the summer.

The defection of Congaree leaves the expected field for the one-mile Firecracker Breeders' Cup at nine. The likely field, for which entries will be taken Tuesday, includes (with available jockeys and weights): Good Journey (Pat Day, 118), Strut The Stage (Robby Albarado, 118), Touch Of The Blues (117), Aly's Alley (Jon Court, 116), Moon Solitaire (115), Even The Score (Mark Guidry, 114), Morluc (114), Pyrus (Larry Melancon, 114), and Dernier Croise (Craig Perret, 113). Boastful (114) is listed as "possible" for the race.