The following article was first published as part of the Paulick Report Special to the OBS March sale last week.
One of the best-looking stallions anywhere, Congrats (A.P. Indy) had proven himself a high-class racehorse for breeder Claiborne Farm before his sale to Cloverleaf Farms as a stallion prospect. Winner of the G2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita and an earner of $998,960, Congrats also descends from one of the grandest families in the stud book.
The stallion’s female line is a branch of La Troienne through Searching to Glowing Tribute, a stakes-winning daughter of Graustark whose seven stakes winners included Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero. Claiborne acquired Glowing Tribute’s stakes-winning daughter, Wild Applause, from the dispersal of Paul Mellon’s Thoroughbreds. Already the dam of G1 Futurity Stakes winner Eastern Echo (Damascus) at the time of the sale, Wild Applause has produced stakes winners Roar (G2 Jim Beam) and Yell (G2 Davona Dale) for Claiborne.
Not among the stakes winners but very near stakes class is Praise, who is “only” a winner but is a daughter of the great sire Mr. Prospector and has done good work for Claiborne. In addition to Congrats, the mare produced graded stakes-placed Flatter, a successful full brother to Congrats who stands at Claiborne and counts top older horse Flat Out among his premium offspring.
As nearly conformationally perfect as horses come, the 16.2 hand Congrats has been used by some breeders to try to improve less “perfect” broodmares. This has not always worked because heredity is not exactly a straightforward process, but to his credit, some of the stallion’s offspring who did not pass the test of theory proved themselves as racehorses.
Emma’s Encore, for one, was little respected at the sales, but given her chance at the racetrack, she proved her ability at the G1 level with victory in the Prioress Stakes.
One of the stallion’s strengths is the speed he normally imparts, and Congrats has seven 2-year-olds cataloged in the OBS March sale (Hips 3, 8, 14, 96, 237, 285, and 315). They will receive just consideration from buyers who’ve realized that the sire can get good racers from various lines and types. [At the sale, the results were: 3 out; 8 :10 4/5 work, late scratch; 14 :10 2/5, $175,000; 96 out; 237 :10 2/5, $50,000 RNA; 285 :10 1/5, $400,000; 315 :10 2/5, late scratch.]
From his first crop, Congrats sired G1 winners Turbulent Descent (Test, Hollywood Starlet, and Ballerina) and Wickedly Perfect (Alcibiades Stakes), and Emma’s Encore was in the second. The 13-year-old stallion moved to Kentucky for the 2011 season, and his first crop of Kentucky-sired foals are yearlings. He now stands at WinStar.