Congrats six year-olds keep Steppin’ Up

Vinery shuttler Congrats was North America’s Champion freshman sire in 2010 and his first crop are still firing as six year-olds.

On Saturday, I’m Steppin’ It Up claimed more black-type winning the Hanford Memorial (1670m) in Delaware and Cajun Breeze was stakes placed in the Bob Humphrey Turf Sprint (1000m) at Gulfstream Park.

I’m Steppin’ It Up (6r Congrats – Cindy Woo Who by Thunder Gulch) led from barrier to box and clocked within a second of the track record.  He has been a consistent money-spinner winning 7 races and over $533,800 in prizemoney for Florida owner-breeder Thomas Croley.

The Anthony Pecoraro trained rig was runner-up to Pluck (More Than Ready) second-up as a two year-old at Belmont Park.  The winner went on to frank the form in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and is now based alongside Congrats at Vinery.

I’m Steppin’ It Up broke through for a 10 length maiden win next time out prior to earning a Group 1 placing behind champion colt Uncle Mo in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

He banked more black-type as a three year-old winning the G3 Kent Stakes at Delaware and LR Chief Tamanaco Stakes at Belmont Park.

I’m Steppin’ It Up has been racing as well as ever this year starting with an allowance win at Calder in March followed by a Group 3 placing to champion colt Palace Malice in the Westchester Hcp at Belmont in May.

That set him up nicely for another crack at the Hanford Memorial on Saturday – he was placed in the same race 12 months ago.  “He’s a one-dimensional horse – he has to be on the lead,” trainer Tony Pecoraro said.  “He likes to get out there and fight them off.

“He’s been good to us.  The Kent Stakes score was my 1,000th winner.”

Congrats (A P Indy) has sired a string of precocious juveniles since his first-crop filly Turbulent Descent won the G1 Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2010.

His first Australian bred yearlings sold to $120,000 at the majors earlier this year and were purchased by the likes of David Hayes, John Hawkes, David Payne and Aquanita Racing.

Vinery will stand Congrats for a $22,000 (inc gst) fee this year.