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Baffert takes aim with both barrels

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The notion that two Kentucky Derby favorites are better than one was vividly illustrated Tuesday morning when Bob Baffert's highly regarded twosome of Point Given and Congaree went through impressive back-to-back workouts at Churchill Downs.

Congaree (pictured) and Point Given "both looked great" following a Tuesday workout at Churchill Downs according to trainer Bob Baffert.
Point Given, the clear-cut favorite for the May 5 Derby, went first, tracking an overmatched stablemate before charging past to finish five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. Some 15 minutes later, Congaree, who could be the second betting choice, went a solo half-mile in 47.80. Dana Barnes was aboard both colts.

Baffert, who admitted to being a little tense because of the momentous nature of the works, said things could not have gone much better.

"Both of them looked great," he said.

The Baffert works were easily the major events on a day without many other Derby developments. Jamaican Rum and Fifty Stars also worked, while Jerry Bailey conditionally agreed to ride longshot Talk Is Money.

On a cool morning when overnight rains left some visible patches of moisture on a track rated good, Point Given spotted his workmate, Indy Lead, several lengths down the backstretch. Down the stretch, Point Given easily took command from the outside while momentarily turning his head to look at the massive Churchill grandstand. The big red colt finally switched to his right lead at the eighth pole and drew off as expected, then galloped out with good energy.

Congaree may have looked a touch better, staying focused on his task throughout before galloping out strongly to the three-quarter pole.

"The track was demanding, a little deeper with the rain and all," said Baffert. "But they still got good works out of it."

Baffert said Congaree will "always look a little better" when workouts between the two colts are compared. "He's handy and quicker. The thing is, [Point Given] has accomplished more in his races, and we know he'll get the mile and a quarter without any problem. With Congaree, we don't know yet."

But Congaree, the Arazi colt who dominated the April 14 Wood Memorial in his last race, "should be getting the same kind of buzz" that Point Given has been getting, said Baffert. "He's getting better and better and better. What he's done in a pretty short time," going 3 for 3 since Feb. 28, "is phenomenal."

Baffert said both colts would have final blowouts early next week.