Updated on 09/15/2011 12:36PM

Rich work - if you can get it


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Congaree earned $300,000 for what amounted to a workout on Sunday. Making his first start since finishing third in the Preakness Stakes on May 19, Congaree set a pedestrian pace and came home well to win the second stakes of his career in the $500,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. He ran like a 1-10 show is expected, finishing four lengths in front of Until Sundown.

"He ran like he was working," winning trainer Bob Baffert said.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, Conagree ($2.20) set his own pace, dawdling through fractions of 25.15 and 49.37 seconds for the first half-mile.

"I didn't know if it was going to be possible to get him to go that slow," Stevens said. "He was very professional."

Congaree led by 2 1/2 lengths on the backstretch over Until Sundown, who tried to move closer on the final turn but made no progress. "Every time he moved up a notch, Gary let out a notch," said Laura de Seroux, the trainer of Until Sundown.

Congaree led by 2 1/2 lengths turning for home and pulled away late. He finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.61 before a crowd of 18,434. The tactics surprised Baffert, who had hoped that Congaree would not be threatened early.

"I don't know what he would have done if someone would have gone in 22 and change," Baffert said. "I don't know if we know that much more about him. At least today we learned he doesn't have to get in a hurry. I think now that he's had some starts, he's learning."

Until Sundown, who won the Affirmed Handicap on June 17, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Jamaican Rum. The runner-up finish was worth $100,000 for Until Sundown, making the Grade 1 Swaps the biggest payday in his six-race career.

"I think he's still maturing," de Seroux said. "What are you going to do when they run the opening quarter in 25?"

Jamaican Rum, who was last early, finished a half-length in front of Top Hit and was followed by Bayou the Moon and Hoovergetthekeys. The Swaps was Congaree's first stakes win since the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct last spring before he finished third in the Kentucky Derby. Owned by Bob and Janice McNair, Congaree, a winner of 4 of 7 starts and $997,400, gave Baffert his second consecutive win in the Swaps. Last year, he won with Captain Steve, who beat Tiznow.

Sunset: Blueprint gets ideal trip

The more time Blueprint has between races, the sharper he runs.

Making his first start in three months, Blueprint won Sunday's $200,000 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park, his second major stakes win of 2001. In March, he won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita following a six-month break.

In the Grade 2 Sunset, 6-year-old Blueprint had an ideal trip under Stevens. Sent off as the favorite, Blueprint ($4.40) finished 1 1/2 miles on turf in 2:26.74, winning by a half-length over Kudos.

Kudos and The Editor ran together for the first mile, through decent fractions of 24.68 and 48.53 seconds. Blueprint, third for much of the race, did not join the leaders until the final turn, rallying wide around Kudos. Blueprint was pressured on the final turn by Northern Quest and Loving. Kudos, who had won his last four starts, maintained the lead past the eighth pole, but was passed in the final sixteenth by Blueprint.

"It's a shame the other horse was in there," said Richard Mandella, who trains Kudos. "You can't not have that other horse in there - that's racing."

Northern Quest, making his first start since finishing 13th in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds last March, finished third, 4 1/2 lengths in front of Loving, who was followed by The Editor.

Blueprint will be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Turf on Oct. 27 with a prep in New York in the fall, according to trainer Bob Hess Jr. Owned by David Shimmon and Bill Bianco, the Irish-bred Blueprint lost his first three starts in the U.S. last year, which came in a 10-week period. This year has been a different tale.

"Last year, I made plenty of mistakes with him," Hess said. "At least I learned from them and he's been tremendous all year long. He's very genuine and has a world of ability."

Juvenile: Came Home an easy winner

Came Home booked a spot in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity later this summer with a four-length win in the $107,400 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

Chris McCarron never struck Came Home, who finished six furlongs in 1:09.20, comfortably ahead of an unlucky Metatron, who took up on the turn.

Breaking from the rail, Came Home ($2.60) quickly took the lead and was never headed. He set fractions of 21.90 and 44.91 seconds and led by 2 1/2 lengths entering the stretch.

"Last time, he stumbled out of the gate," McCarron said. "Today, he broke well and showed speed. He rated nicely up there, too. He doesn't run off and stampede."

Metatron, a maiden winner in his only start at Bay Meadows, was checked on the turn. When he launched a rally in the stretch, it was too late to challenge the winner. A Major Pleasure, sent off at 45-1, finished third, followed by Tracemark, Tim's Talent and Phoney Gold.

McCarron hand rode Came Home in the final furlong. By Gone West, Came Home is unbeaten in two starts with earnings of $91,440.

"He won geared down," said John Toffan, who co-owns Came Home with Trudy McCaffery.

Trained by Paco Gonzalez, Came Home is likely to skip the Best Pal Stakes in August in favor of the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5, Toffan said.