Group 1 Encore by Congrats

Congrats sired his latest Group 1 winner at Saratoga on Saturday.  Vinery had already closed its 2012 southern book to the Kentucky shuttler before Emma’s Encore powered home in the Prioress Stakes.

Congrats sired G1 winners Turbulent Descent and Wickedly Perfect in his first crop and Emma’s Encore comes from his second.

Emma’s Encore (3f Congrats – French Opera by Wild Again) had been unplaced in all three juvenile starts before transferring to Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens earlier this year.  “She arrived in the van during the winter and looked OK,” the 83 year-old conditioner recalled.  “Hell, we were in no position to turn anybody down and anyway, it’s like I’ve said all my life, you never know what’s going to happen.  You take what you get.”

The Prioress was the first Group 1 for Jerkens since Miss Shop took the Personal Ensign in 2007.

Emma’s Encore won a Gulfstream Park maiden in February and doubled in an allowance event in March.  She kept improving to claim a Group 3 in the Victory Ride at Belmont Park a month ago.

“After the Victory Ride, I was really confident,” winning jockey Junior Alvarado said.  “I got her to settle and feel comfortable because I knew we were going to be running late.  She gave me a really nice kick at the end and I knew we had it.”

Emma’s Encore was bred in Florida by Equest Thoroughbreds and is raced by Brenda Mercer and Peter Berger.  Her dam French Opera is related to ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby hero Barbaro.

Jerkens will wait and see how Emma’s Encore recovers before deciding whether to run her again in the G1 $500,000 Test Stakes on August 25.

Vinery priced Congrats (A P Indy) at $22,000 (inc gst) for 2012 and breeders snapped up all the available noms before he entered quarantine in the United States.