Congrats got his first stakes winner of 2019 in thrilling fashion on Saturday when Harvey Wallbanger came from last to first in the final three furlongs to win the $350,000 Holy Bull S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Visit Congrats's Page
The victory was especially sweet for the 3-year-old colt's connections, who endured three runner-up finishes before the bay colt broke through with a maiden victory at Churchill Downs on Nov. 17, his most recent start until Saturday.
Unhurried out of the gate, Harvey Wallbanger was last of nine through the first half-mile, which went in :46.76. Entering the final turn, jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. elected stay along the inside rail, passing horses rapidly, then squeezing through the narrowest of openings in upper stretch.
He ran down Epic Dreamer and Maximus Mischief to strike the front, then handily held off Everfast to win by a length in 1:43.69 for the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track.
"3-year-olds change a lot," trainer Ken McPeek said, "and when you've got one doing well, you've got a window of time to run in these kind of races. Adversity, which my colt overcame today, is what you've got to (handle) in these kind of races."
Harvey Wallbanger is owned by a partnership headed by Hal Lerner. The big payday upped the colt's earnings to $299,520 and also earned him 10 points of the Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge.
"We're going to look at the calendar and see where we're headed," Lerner said of Harvery Wallbanger's next start. "This was a huge win. Now he's a graded stakes winner. I hope everybody has a Harvey Wallbanger later."
Harvey Wallbanger is Congrats' 80th lifetime North American stakes horse and pushed his lifetime progeny earnings mark past the $49 million mark. Annually among the top-10 sires by winners, Congrats is standing at WinStar Farm this year for $12,500 LF S&N.