Stronger Than Ever, making her 3-year-old debut, bested Wonder Gadot by a neck in a thrilling edition of the $150,000 Silverbulletday S. Jan. 13 at Fair Grounds.
The Congrats filly had placed in the $100,000 Trapeze S. after coming from far back a month ago for trainer Ken McPeek, and had a repeat of that trip on Saturday, but was able to come away with the win. Florent Geroux let the gray filly go at her own pace for the first five furlongs, then rapidly gained ground to engage Wonder Gadot for the lead at the top of the stretch. Those two were nearly inseparable the rest of the way, but Stronger Than Ever wouldn't let her foe by, finishing the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:44.28 (VIDEO
“She just needed the right trip and the right set up for her," Geroux said. "There was a lot of speed and I just took my time, saved as much ground as I could, and all those horses came back to me.”
The victory was the first stakes win for Stronger Than Ever, who is now 3-0-1 in five starts with earnings of $174,846. She also picked up 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, moving her into 11th on the list for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) field.
Stronger Than Ever was purchased by owner Fern Circle Stables for $310,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale and was bred in Kentucky by J. Stuart, P. Bance, J. Amling, and C. Noell.
Congrats is a perennially a leading sire of winners and finished 2017 with 146 individuals. He also had 85 repeat winners, second-most of any sire standing in North America. He commands a fee of $17,500 this year at WinStar Farm.