Congrats, second to Rock Hard Ten in last year's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), will try to achieve millionaire status in Saturday's $100,000-added Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.
Trainer Richard Mandella is hopeful that the 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy
can regain the form that elevated him to the handicap division's upper echelon at Santa Anita one year ago when victorious by 5 ½ lengths in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II). He followed with a third in the San Antonio (gr. II) and the miss by 1 ¾ lengths in the Big 'Cap.
Congrats, whose only race this year was a seventh to Surf Cat when sprinting in the Feb. 18 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs, will face nine other older horses trying to sort themselves out in the Tokyo City.
With an overall record of 7-2-5 in 23 career starts for the partnership of Claiborne Farm and Dilschneider, Congrats has banked $978,960. But he has not found the winner's circle since the San Pasqual nearly 15 months ago.
Following the 2005 Santa Anita Handicap, Congrats was shipped to the United Arab Emirates where he ran fifth to Roses in May in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). He went to the sidelines later in the year following a third in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and an eighth place finish in Del Mar's Pacific Classic (gr. I). The San Carlos was his first race in nearly six months.
Mandella will also saddle El Roblar, a 4-year-old who is fresh off a victory in an optional claiming event March 2, his first outing of the year. The developing El Roblar has won 4 of 6 starts while earning $162,840 for Stonerstreet Stables LLC.
Truly a Judge is the only entrant with multiple graded stakes victories, but the 8-year-old gelding is winless in five starts since taking the San Gabriel Handicap in January of last year.
Texcess is coming out of a pair of million-dollar races (third in the Sunshine Millions Classic and sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap), but the 4-year-old gelding has been blanked in 10 races since winning the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot as a 2-year-old.$100,000-added Tokyo City Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Romeo Plus (ARG), 114, David Flores
2. Truly a Judge (KY), 116, Martin Pedroza
3. Congrats (KY), 116, Tyler Baze
4. Bully Hayes (KY), 114, Garrett Gomez
5. Snorter (KY), 112, Paul Atkinson
6. Texcess (CA), 113, Corey Nakatani
7. Sort It Out (NY), 113, Aaron Gryder
8. El Roblar (KY), 115, Alex Solis
9. Preachinatthebar (KY), 116, Jon Court
10. Melanyhasthepapers (WA), 112, Patrick A. Valenzuela