On the eve of a new breeding season, Vinery Stud's Congrats received a huge boost when his 3yo daughter Emma's Encore rallied late to snatch a nose victory in Saturday's $300,000 Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Saratoga.
A surprise winner last start of the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes, Emma's Encore came from last of six at the start under jockey Junior Alvarado to nail Judge The Beauty (Ghostzapper) on the line.
"Like the old days," winning trainer Allen Jerkens told The Blood-Horse.
"I think she improved a little from the Victory Ride. She had to run her very best. Everything has to go well. The horse has to run good, the horse has to be good, has to be fit enough. She really had to run today."
"After she won the Victory Ride, I was really confident in her," said winning rider JuniorAlvarado. "She broke really good again. I got her to settle and feel comfortable in the race. We tried to save ground because I knew we were going to be running late. Turning for home, she was moving, but we were wider than I wanted to be. She gave me a really nice kick at the end. She ran really hard to win that race. Approaching the wire, I knew we had it. These last two races have really worked out well for us."
It takes the overall record of Emma's Encore to four wins one second and a third from 10 starts for earning $342,958.
Not bad for a filly that was purchased for just $2,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale.
Her dam French Opera (Wild Again) descends from the family of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
A son of AP Indy from one of the best families in the American stud book, Congrats (pictured) has now sired three Grade 1 winners. All are fillies headed by the multiple Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent and the Alcibiades winner Wickedly Perfect.
Congrats served 140 mares at his first season at Vinery last year and will cover once again at a fee of $22,000 in 2012.