2023 John Battaglia Memorial Recap

The 2022 Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Sonny Leon may have another potential Derby chance in 2023 from the Turfway Park Derby prep circuit in the form of Congruent.

Like Leon’s shock 2022 Derby winner Rich Strike, Congruent also contested the John Battaglia Memorial. However, this year Leon went three places better than Rich Strike and won the Listed stakes race.

Congruent came into the race after three useful non-winning runs on the Gulfstream Park turf, resulting in him starting at 16-1 odds, but he won like an odds-on hope. Settling last of the 12 runners for the first half-mile, Leon sent the gray son of Tapit around the field on the final turn and they sprinted clear in the stretch to win by 3 12 lengths, earning 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby table in the process.

Scoobie Quando made ground late to finish second and earn eight points on the Derby Road. Bromley, who looked the winner early in the stretch, finished third, though he has not been allocated the six Derby Road points he would normally earn as he was not Triple Crown nominated. Moon Landing (fourth) and Miranda Rights (fifth) earned four points and two points, respectively.

Congruent is expected to try to confirm a place in the Kentucky Derby field in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) back at Turfway Park March 25.

By Alastair Bull

John Battaglia Memorial History

Run at 1 116 miles, the John Battaglia Memorial is the final race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Season. The top 5 finishers will be awarded qualifying points on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale for a spot in the starting gate for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, May 6. Turfway’s Saturday program also features the $150,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

John Battaglia Memorial Previews:

Johnson: Study Guide: 2023 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes

Reilly: Gilmore, Scoobie Quando prominent in John Battaglia Memorial

Rogers and Kerstein: Inside the Kentucky Derby Podcast: A Stakes Race Superfecta Preview