TORONTO, December 3, 2023 – Conglomerate, under Luis Contreras, rallied impressively to best 13 rivals in the $150,000 Valedictory Stakes (G3), for 3-year-olds and up, Sunday at Woodbine.
It was stablemate Win for the Money, in rein to Patrick Husbands, who set the early tone, gliding over from post eight to take the lead, followed by the trio of Meyer, So High (GB), and War Court. Conglomerate, with Luis Contreras up, sat seventh through an opening quarter reached in :24.98.
Win for the Money continued to run along unencumbered on the front end through a half-mile in :49.71, holding a 2 ½-length advantage over Meyer, who was shadowed to his inside by So High, while Conglomerate, at 15-1, had moved into fifth.
Reaching three-quarters in 1:15.61, Win for the Money was still in control and asked for his best run as the field straightened for home. Conglomerate, chasing his first stakes crown for owner Gary Barber, continued to pick off his foes and improve his position, moving into second at the stretch call.
The son of Lemon Drop Kid-Maddy’s Heart, trained by dual hall of famer Mark Casse, wrested the lead away and went on to notch a 1 ½-length score in a time of 2:31.49. Collective Force came on to finish second. Win for the Money and Palazzi, both trained by Casse, finished third and fourth, respectively.
“Well, I know the first turn is going to be trouble because everyone wants to get in position, but this horse helped me the whole way,” said Contreras. “After the first turn, when everyone was in trouble, I got a perfect trip and had lots of horse the whole way.
“The horse gave me a great feeling and I was okay the whole race. The only thing was when I saw Patrick, I thought he had more horse. I was a bit worried, but my horse kicked hard at the end.”
It was the 26th start for the 6-year-old gelding, now 8-7-4, who was bred in Kentucky by Liberty Road Stables, LLC. The bay was sixth in this year’s Eclipse Stakes (G2) and ninth in the King Edward Stakes (G2T).
Conglomerate arrived at the Valedictory off a sharp effort in an allowance optional claiming race on October 29th when he posted a 1 ¾-length win at 1 1/16 miles over the Tapeta.
He paid $32.90 for today’s win.
Trainer Martin Drexler, who is having a career year, won five races on the card.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms