Grade 1 Winner Congaree Euthanized

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Valor Farm announced this morning via Facebook that their multiple Grade 1 winning stallion CONGAREE was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age on Sunday, November 22nd at their farm near Pilot Point, Texas. 

The stallion was owned by Janice McNair, who with her late husband Bob, raced CONGAREE under their stable Stonerside Stable. He was one of a few horses the couple kept after selling their Houston-based farm in October 2008 to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum in order to devote more time to their NFL franchise, the Houston Texans. 

The stallion was trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Jerry Bailey. He was a Kentucky-bred and a son of ARAZI out of MARI'S SHEBA. He raced 25 times from age two to six with 22 consecutive starts in graded stakes. He was the winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial in 2001. 

He raced coast to coast winning:
  • Grade 1 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park
  • Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct
  • Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park
  • Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct (twice - as a 4 and 5 year old)
  • Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap
  • Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita
  • Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita

Other achievements included a third place finish in the 2001 Kentucky Derby and a 3rd place finish in the 2001 Preakness Stakes. He ran undefeated at Aqueduct. CONGAREE retired with 25 starts and a record of 12-2-4 with lifetime earnings of $3,267,490. 

"First time I saw him, he really caught my eye," Baffert continued. "I was looking at all these well-bred yearlings at Stonerside and saw him in a paddock nearby, and I said ‘Wow, can I take that chestnut? I'll trade you back one of these Danzigs for him.' He didn't have the most perfect conformation, but he made up for it with heart. He was a real noble horse, sweet, kind, just a great personality." 

CONGAREE retired to stud at Adena Springs in Kentucky, later moved to New York and then to Texas. He sired 13 stakes winners from 317 starters including six graded and group winners. His top offspring include the Irish filly MAOINEACH and Grade 1 winners JERANIMO, DON'T TELL SOPHIA and KILLER GRACES. 

"Congaree had so much class," said Ken Carson, general manager of Valor Farm. "He was a pleasure to be around, an easy-going horse who certainly loved his mints."

"I am very grateful to all the people who played a part in his life – all our Stonerside staff, Bob Baffert and his team, our friends and family who traveled the country with us to watch him race, and to his many loyal fans who reached out to us over the years," said Janice McNair. "He's been at two great farms here in Texas – first Will Farish's Lane's End Texas under the excellent care of Danny Shifflett, then after Lane's End closed, we were fortunate to be able to move him to Douglas Scharbauer's Valor Farm. We are especially grateful to Farm Manager Donny Denton and the entire crew at Valor for the wonderful care they have given Congaree. We are honored that he has been buried in the cemetery at Valor alongside so many of the great horses owned by the Scharbauer family."


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