Congaree Out for the Year With Knee Injury

Congaree Out for the Year With Knee Injury
Congaree, shown winning the Wood Memorial in April, will be sidelined with an injured knee.
Congaree, who finished third as the odds-on favorite behind Scorpion and Free of Love in Saturday's Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, came out of the race with an injury to his right front knee and will be out at least 90 days, trainer Bob Baffert said on Sunday. "It's the same knee he had surgery on last September," Baffert said, "but it shouldn't require surgery. He just needs some time off."

Congaree, a homebred racing for the Stonerside Stable of Robert and Janice McNair, came into the Jim Dandy off an easy triumph in the Swaps Stakes (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, in which he controlled the pace with extremely slow fractions. That win followed good third-place efforts in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). In the Jim Dandy, Gary Stevens moved Congaree to the lead on the far turn after volleying with Free of Love through slow fractions of :24 1/5 and :47 4/5, but the son of Arazi failed to sustain his drive, finishing 6 1/4 lengths behind at the finish.

"I knew something had to be wrong," Baffert said. "He was getting ready to make his vintage move, then had nothing. By the time he got back to the barn, he was off in that knee. It must have happened during the race."

Baffert said Congaree will be sent to his owners' Stonerside Farm in Paris, Ky., where he will be X-rayed and further examined. The trainer has next year's Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at a mile on the horizon for Congaree, along with a possible switch to turf. "This is a brilliant horse," Baffert said of Congaree, who won 4-of-7 starts this year after finishing sixth in his lone juvenile race in 2000. "We're going to give him the time he needs and let the knee rejuvenate itself."

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