The conversation and observation above on Twitter on Jan. 17 was a result of the way Congrats had started off the year near the top of the General Sire List (alongside his brother Flatter and in the mix with Tapit and Candy Ride). His top runner this year is the 3-year-old filly Forever Darling, who won the G2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita on Jan. 2
Add another stakes filly to Congrats’s ledger today. Polar River won the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas by open lengths at Meydan and looks to have a promising career in Graded races ahead of her. Undefeated now in three starts, the filly began her career in Dubai this December against older males, then won the trial for the Guineas in her next start. Trainer Doug Watson is reportedly aiming her for the UAE Oaks and Derby and then would like to see her compete against Songbird in the Kentucky Oaks. See the race below.
Bred in Kentucky by Bob McCann, Mark Kelder, and Doug Richards, Polar River was foaled and raised at Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm, and McLean, as agent, sold her as a yearling for $25,000 at Keeneland September 2014 to Eisaman Equine. The latter pinhooked her for $40,000 at the 2015 OBS April Sale to Watkins Bloodstock for the account of Russian owners Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev. You can see her under tack breeze at OBS here. What a bargain she’s turned into.
Now back to Congrats. By A.P. Indy from Praise, by Mr. Prospector, Congrats was bred and raced by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. One year younger than his full brother Flatter, Congrats was actually the better of the two as a runner, winning the G2 San Pasqual and placing in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, among other races; Flatter was only G2-placed. Because Claiborne had committed to standing Flatter, Congrats became available as a sire prospect, and bloodstock writer and authority Frank Mitchell brokered the deal to send the horse to stud in Florida in 2007 at Cloverleaf Farms II (and later at Journeyman Stud in 2008 and then to Vinery in Florida for 2009 and 2010) where he was popular. He had 104 foals in his first crop and was the leading Freshman Sire of 2010. With the title — and two G1 winners from his first crop — Congrats subsequently made his way to Kentucky, first to Vinery and then to WinStar when Vinery was dismantled.
Congrats’s second Kentucky crop is now 3. In 2010, Congrats stood at Vinery in Florida for $4,500 after starting out for $12,500 at Cloverleaf, but his fee was raised to $15,000 for his first season in Kentucky in 2011 after his sire title. The horse was so popular with breeders that his fee rose to $35,000 in 2012 at Vinery and stayed at that level in 2013, when he got to WinStar, and in 2014, but the stallion’s smaller books of mares in his second (68 foals) and third (29) crops couldn’t continue and sustain his early success. Nevertheless, the stallion has sired 21 black type winners to date, including three G1 winners — Turbulent Descent, Wickedly Perfect, and Emma’s Encore — and he’s value now, at $20,000 live foal in 2016, coming alive with Forever Darling and Polar River after a quiet period.
All three of his G1 winners to date are fillies, but there’s more: 18 of his 21 black type winners are also fillies. That’s a filly bias (to date).