Oaklawn News

Barn Notes


Jennifer Hoyt, jhoyt@oaklawn.com (501) 623-4411 ex. 497

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lukas Makes Plans for Take Charge Brandi 

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has a game plan for probable 2-year-old filly champion Take Charge Brandi. But, at this time, that plan doesn’t include challenging males in the Kentucky Derby, or any Triple Crown prep races.

“Right now, she’s Oaks bound,” Lukas said, following training hours on an overcast Tuesday morning at Oaklawn Park.

To get to the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies, the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 1 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Lukas is planning to run Take Charge Brandi twice at Oaklawn.

Lukas said Take Charge Brandi will point for the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) on March 7 and the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) on April 4.

“The Honeybee/Fantasy would be the obvious choice,” Lukas said.

Owned by Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., Take Charge Brandi most likely clinched an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old filly with a half-length victory in the $350,000 Starlet Stakes (G1) on Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos in suburban Los Angeles. The Starlet marked the third consecutive victory for Take Charge Brandi, who arrived at Oaklawn Tuesday.

Her late season-surge began with victories in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita and the $400,000 Delta Princess (G3) on Nov. 22 at Delta Downs.

Lukas saddled the filly Winning Colors to win the 1988 Kentucky Derby and said he toyed with the idea of running Take Charge Brandi against males in Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1).

Mr. Z, also trained by Lukas, finished third in that race behind Dortmund and Firing Line in a three-horse photo that produced a track record (1:40.86) for 1 1/16 miles.

Lukas said he would consider running Take Charge Brandi against males, “in the right situation.”  In addition to Winning Colors, who also beat males in the 1988 Santa Anita Derby, Lukas won the 1984 Arkansas Derby against males with Althea, a week after the filly ran second in the Fantasy.

“Damn near did it the other day,” Lukas said of Take Charge Brandi. “I’m glad I didn’t because that race came up really tough. But I thought about it. She was squealing and playing and jumping in the stall. I said, ‘It won’t be the first time I’ve done that.’ ”

Take Charge Brandi, a speedy daughter of Giant’s Causeway, completed her year with a 4-1-0 record from eight starts and earnings of $1,620,126, while racing on both coasts and in four different states.

 “January and February will go fast,” Lukas said. “Our obvious goal is the Oaks.”

‘Ivan’ The Good

One of the best claims of the 2014 Oaklawn meeting should return to the races in early 2015, said trainer Tom Howard, who is pointing Ivan Fallunovalot toward a Jan. 18 conditioned allowance sprint.

On behalf of Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark., Howard claimed Ivan Fallunovalot for $25,000 out of a 3 ¾-length victory March 6 – the first of four consecutive victories for the 4-year-old Valid Expectations gelding.

Ivan Fallunovalot went on to win an allowance/optional claiming sprint at Oaklawn and Lone Star Park before capturing the $75,000 David M. Vance Sprint Stakes on Aug. 16 at Remington Park. Ivan Fallunovalot bankrolled $126,780 after winning 4 of 6 starts this year.

“What a great horse,” Howard said. “He is so laid back in his training. But come race day, he’s a race horse.”

Howard said he and Mathews were initially intrigued by the possibility of claiming Ivan Fallunovalot because he’s a Texas-bred and the trainer is based at Lone Star following the Oaklawn meeting.

Instead, Ivan Fallunovalot, who competed against state-breds in two of his first three career starts, continued to excel in open company.

“I felt he was a very useful horse, but had no idea that he had the kind of ability and the want to run like he does,” Howard said.

Ivan Fallunovalot, who hasn’t started since running fourth in the $150,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship Sept. 28, has had two published workouts at Oaklawn – 3 furlongs in :36.40 on Dec. 14 and half-mile in :50.40 on Dec. 21.

Howard said Ivan Fallunovalot could be a candidate for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) on April 9, if he continues to improve.

He is among five horses Howard trains for Mathews, a longtime client.

Mathews is also the breeder and co-owner of Touchdown Arkansas, a 2-year-old Artie Schiller colt who broke his maiden in the $50,000 Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds Nov. 8 at Remington Park.

Mathews named the colt for the trademark call of Paul Eells, the late Arkansas Razorbacks play-by-play announcer.

Finish Lines

Mr. Z, narrowly beaten in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), is now at Oaklawn, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, and targeting a 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) on Feb. 16. … Lukas said Majestico is a candidate for Oaklawn’s first major 3-year-old Kentucky Derby prep race, the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 19. Majestico, a Majesticperfection colt, finished ninth in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs. … The Lukas-trained Zee Bros, winner of the $350,000 De Francis Memorial Dash on Nov. 15 at Laurel in Maryland, took another step toward his 2015 debut by working 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 over a fast surface Tuesday morning. Lukas said he doesn’t have specific plans for Zee Bros, but wants to keep the 4-year-old colt separated from stablemate Brewing, a 3-year-old multiple stakes-winning sprinter. Both horses are owned by Zayat Stables. … Lukas said he again has horses for prominent Arkansas owner John Ed Anthony, who strives to race in Arkansas and New York. … Multiple stakes winner Carve is pointing for the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes on Jan. 10, trainer Brad Cox said. The major spring objective, Cox said, is the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on April 11. Carve ran third in this year’s Oaklawn Handicap, and, in his last start, sixth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Oct. 31 at Santa Anita.