Mike Masiello gave an emotional tribute to the late namesake of King Congie at Thursday morning's Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico. The West Point Thoroughbreds partner spoke about the life of Congie DeVito and the significant role he played in the success of the stable's Preakness hopeful.
"It's just a great story; he was such a great person, and he's got us all here," said Masiello. "This is the most amazing thing that's ever happened to us."
DeVito died Feb. 16, at age 35, from complications of the brittle-bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta. He had 25 broken bones at birth. From his wheelchair, Congie made a life for himself, graduating cum laude from Temple, and was a mainstay at Temple football and basketball games.
"He was part of the West Point team for 13 years. Congie was our sales rep, a terrific guy, a quadriplegic who had brittle-bone disease and lived his whole life in a wheelchair," Masiello said. "Last year, Terry [Finley, West Point founder] bought this horse as a 2-year-old and he was kind of scrawny looking. He was kind of hard to sell, so we turned him over to Congie and said, 'Congie, we're getting rid of this horse, because no one in the partnership will be buying him.' "
DeVito put together an ownership group before telling Finley that the only way he'll complete the sale is if he could name the colt after himself. So, the son of Badge of Silver was named King Congie.
Another full brother to Barbaro. Gretchen and Roy Jackson's broodmare La Ville Rouge has produced a fourth full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who suffered a catastrophic injury in the Preakness. Barbaro's other full siblings are also colts: Nicanor, a stakes-placed 5-year-old; Lentenor, and unraced 2-year-old; Margano.
Female Jockey Challenge. Rosie Napravnik leads a group of six female riders who will compete in the inaugural $30,000 Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge on Friday. Napravnik will be joined by Vicky Baze, Forest Boyce, Chantal Sutherland, Hayley Turner, and Emma-Jayne Wilson for the four-race challenge, with the winner earning $10,000.
Carpenter passes away. Dianne Carpenter, the only woman to saddle two starters in the Kentucky Derby, has died of cancer at age 68. Carpenter trained and owned Biloxi Indian, who finished 12th in the 1984 Derby. She also saddled Kingpost, 14th in the 1988 Derby. No female trainer has ever won the 137-year-old race.
Black-Eyed Susan. Wyomia is the favorite in Friday's $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.