Updated on 09/17/2011 8:36PM

Congrats captures San Pasqual

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BENOIT PHOTO
Congrats and jockey Tyler Baze sprint through the mud to the finish line to win the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Congrats and Fencelineneighbor won the biggest races of their careers at Santa Anita on Saturday, prepping for lucrative stakes in coming weeks.

Congrats, 5, won the $150,000 over 1 1-16 miles, a race that trainer Richard Mandella considered a prep to the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.

Fencelineneighbor won the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap for fillies and mares, which was transferred from turf to dirt because of rain. She will be pointed for the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff here on Jan. 29.

Congrats won for the first time since joining trainer Richard Mandella's stable last fall.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Congrats stalked pacesetter Excessivepleasure to the final turn before pulling clear to win by a convincing 5 1-2 lengths. Congrats ($8.20) was timed in 1:41.97 over a sloppy track.

The victory marked Congrats's first success in a graded stakes, and first stakes win since the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs last April. In his first start for Mandella, Congrats finished sixth in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park last month.

Baze kept Congrats near the pace throughout and took control of the Grade 2 San Pasqual on the final turn when Excessivepleasure began to fade.

"I told him to put him in the race a little," Mandella said. "Last time, I concentrated on him being back. He didn't respond to that."

Total Impact, the even-money favorite who won the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup last July, closed from fourth to finish second, four lengths clear of Sigfreto in the field of five.

Congrats has won 7 of 16 starts and $463,390 for owners Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

Fencelineneighbor and jockey Luis Jauregui, 35, won the first graded stakes in the San Gorgonio.

Fencelineneighbor ($4.80) led throughout 1 1-8 miles, holding off Uraib to win by two lengths.

The San Gorgonio was downgraded from a Grade 2 to a Grade 3 after it was transferred from turf to dirt, but that didn't bother Jauregui.

"It was big for me," he said. "I'll take it."

Fencelineneighbor was the 7-5 favorite in a field of five. Because of the surface switch, Ask for the Moon, Hoh Buzzard, Megahertz, Navaja, Penny's Fortune, and Theater R.N. were scratched.

Jauregui had Fencelineneighor in front shortly after the start. Fencelineneighbor set fractions of 23.49 and 47.47 seconds, leading by as much as a length on the backstretch.

"I was just trying to sit as quiet as I could," Jauregui said.

Uraib posed a threat on the final turn, but Fencelineneighbor pulled clear in early stretch to win comfortably, finishing in 1:49.82. At the finish, Jauregui pumped his fist into the air several times.

The victory marked the richest win for Fencelineneighbor, who has won 8 of 26 starts and $467,257 for owners John and Jerry Amerman and trainer Mike Machowsky. She was supplemented for $3,000 on Jan. 4 with the intent of running on dirt, if necessary.