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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

Victory in the Hollywood Starlet not only made Turbulent Descent a Grade 1 winner for owner Blinkers On Racing and for breeder Ocala Stud, but the success also made the filly’s sire, Congrats, a virtual lock as the leading freshman sire of 2010.

The grand-looking son of A.P. Indy and the Mr. Prospector mare Praise had been in a tight duel for the title with the Storm Cat horse Bluegrass Cat (standing at WinStar) and Preakness winner Bernardini (Darley), who is also a son of Horse of the Year A.P. Indy.

But when Turbulent Descent coasted home from her competition at Hollywood Park, Congrats pulled off to a lead of about a quarter-million dollars over the others. With only 14 days left in the year, that is probably enough to ensure the title for Congrats.

Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy has been looking more and more like the leading conduit for premium talent through such sons as Pulpit and Malibu Moon, as well as grandson Tapit, but having both Congrats and Bernardini fighting for the title of top freshman clearly puts Seattle Slew’s branch of the Bold Ruler line in the national forefront.

Such results are not accidental.

Both these horses are outstanding athletes and were given every chance to present their best qualities.

Bred and raced by Claiborne Farm, Congrats won the G2 San Pasqual Handicap, ran second in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, and was third in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup. Near the end of his racing career, the big bay sold to Cloverleaf Farms in Florida, where he entered stud in 2007.

After the end of the 2007 breeding season, Cloverleaf closed its Florida operation, moved its mares to Kentucky, and initially shifted Congrats to Journeyman Stud with Brent Fernung, who had selected the stallion for Cloverleaf and managed his introduction to Florida breeding.

Before long, however, the Cloverleaf stallions, including Congrats, shifted to Vinery Florida, where Congrats remained at stud until his recent move to Kentucky.

The decision to move the stallion to the Bluegrass looks like an even better idea after the result of the Hollywood Starlet, as Turbulent Descent is the freshman sire’s second G1 winner, a distinction shared with Bernardini.

But Congrats will stand the 2011 season for a fifth of Bernardini’s stud fee, and Kentucky breeders have not been slow to take advantage of the opportunity.

According to several breeders and their advisers, Vinery has had to turn down more than 100 mares for the horse and literally could stand him to 250 to 350 mares, perhaps more.

One of the mares who has secured a season to Congrats is Roger’s Sue, the dam of Turbulent Descent, and she will ship up from Ocala Stud in Florida.

Ocala Stud is operated by lifelong horseman Mike O’Farrell, who said that he bred the unraced Forestry mare Roger’s Sue to Congrats because “I really liked the mare’s first foal by Golden Missile (by A.P. Indy), and Congrats is by A.P. Indy. I thought I’d go back to the well, and I thought Forestry and her family would suit Congrats. It would add some speed to go along with the classic quality. And Congrats was a grand-looking horse with a terrific pedigree.”

Graded stakes winner Congrats is the best performer from four starters out of the Mr. Prospector mare Praise. This is a wonderful family that Claiborne bought into at the Rokeby Stable dispersal with the purchase of the Northern Dancer mare Wild Applause, one of seven stakes winners out of the great broodmare Glowing Tribute.

Already the dam of Futurity winner Eastern Echo and graded stakes winner Blare of Trumpets for Rokeby, Wild Applause produced Roar (Jim Beam and Swale Stakes) and Yell (Davona Dale) for Claiborne, as well as Praise.

The mare immediately produced Flatter, winner in four of his six starts and third in the G2 Washington Park Handicap, and Congrats for Claiborne. The farm stands the year-older Flatter, who has sired 15 stakes winners to date, including Super Derby winner Apart.

When Ocala Stud brought Turbulent Descent to the 2-year-old sales at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April, she sold her for $160,000, the second-highest price for a juvenile in training by Congrats.

O’Farrell said the filly “has a great mind and worked as well as any 2-year-old we’ve had. Greg Gilchrist was the one who bought her at the sales, but he retired from training. She was the first one he bought from us, but she has turned out to be a good one.”

This Turbulent Descent has been good to everyone.

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