Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Congruent

March 6th, 2023

Congruent first emerged as a Kentucky Derby (G1) contender when rallying from last to first in the John Battaglia Memorial S. over the synthetic Tapeta track at Turfway Park. But don’t assume Congruent is a synthetic specialist; to the contrary, he’s a versatile young runner capable of performing well over any surface.

A pedigree analysis isn’t necessary to prove the point, because Congruent has done it on the track. On dirt, he’s won the Laurel Futurity and a Gulfstream Park maiden special weight. On turf, he’s finished third in the Pulpit S. and sixth in a deep renewal of the Kitten’s Joy (G3). And of course, on synthetic he took off like a rocket to dominate the John Battaglia Memorial by 3 1/2 lengths.

However, a review of Congruent’s pedigree readily pinpoints the sources of his versatility. The correlation between pedigree and performance couldn’t be more striking.

The dirt prowess can be attributed to Congruent’s sire, Tapit. A three-time leading North American sire, Tapit won the Wood Memorial (G1) on dirt and has sired a seemingly endless list of top-notch dirt horses. The undefeated 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline is the best example, but Tapit also counts Belmont (G1) winners Tonalist, Creator, Tapwrit, and Essential Quality among his progeny.

The synthetic success is surely owed to Congruent’s dam, Part the Seas, who scored her signature victory in the Bessarabian (G2) sprinting seven furlongs on Polytrack at Woodbine. But Part the Seas also appears to be a source of grass influence; she won Woodbine’s seven-furlong Avowal S. on turf and is the dam of Oceans Map, winner of the 1 1/2-mile Cape Henlopen S. over the Delaware Park lawn.

This is to be expected since Part the Seas is a daughter of Stormy Atlantic. While Stormy Atlantic proved best as a dirt sprinter, winning the Damitrius S. and Havre de Grace S. dashing six furlongs or less, his progeny have performed best on grass, with two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Stormy Liberal, three-time Grade 1 winner Get Stormy, and Jamaica H. (G1) winner Up With the Birds among the best.

Stormy Atlantic has displayed a similar tendency as a broodmare sire. His most productive daughter, Here to Eternity, has foaled 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup (G1) winners Time Warp and Glorious Forever. Other daughters of Stormy Atlantic are responsible for accomplished synthetic runners like Queen’s Plate winner One Bad Boy and CashCall Futurity (G1) hero Comma to the Top.

With all these dirt, turf, and synthetic influences stuffed into one pedigree, it’s no wonder why Congruence is capable of performing well over any surface. And while Stormy Atlantic is generally known as a source of speed (with his progeny winning at an average distance of 6.6 furlongs), he tends to pass on more stamina through his daughters.

Throw in the obvious stamina of Tapit (whose runners win at an average distance of 7.6 furlongs), and there’s no reason to think Congruent’s pedigree will prevent him from factoring in the Kentucky Derby racing 1 1/4 miles on dirt. Or the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) running one mile on turf. Or the Bold Venture (G3) sprinting seven furlongs on Tapeta. Only time will tell if Congruent has the talent to challenge in those competitive contests, but anywhere races are run—almost regardless of distance or surface—Congruent has the pedigree to take part.