Oaklawn News

Champion Take Charge Brandi Returns

Take Charge Brandi drew post 4 for the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Saratoga, which will mark the champion’s return to racing. The Eclipse Award winner as the country’s champion 2-year-old filly, hasn’t started since winning her 2015 debut in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn.

Take Charge Brandi was being pointed for a matchup against males, notably eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 at Oaklawn, but was diagnosed with a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee and sidelined approximately two months.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said during the Oaklawn meeting that he believed Take Charge Brandi would be ready for the Saratoga meeting that began July 24.

The daughter of Giant’s Causeway returned to the work tab June 27 at Churchill Downs and has six published breezes leading up the Test.

The 7-furlong Test will be just the second start for Take Charge Brandi since clinching an Eclipse Award with a victory in the $350,000 Starlet Stakes (G1) Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos.

Probable post time for the Test is 4:11 p.m. (Central). Also entered is Kathballu, third in an entry-level allowance/optional claiming race March 14 at Oaklawn.
Sarah Sis Update

Sarah Sis, one of the top 3-year-old fillies at this year’s Oaklawn meet, wasn’t entered in Saturday’s $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga because of a minor health issue, trainer Ingrid Mason said. Mason said Sarah Sis, based at Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, was scheduled to van to Saratoga Monday, but went off her feed the night before the trip.

“I couldn’t put her on the van,” Mason said. “I didn’t know what it was. It was a 14-hour trip and I had to make a split-second decision. She’s fine. It could be an ulcer. Just couldn’t take the chance, that’s all.”

Mason said Sarah Sis is under consideration for the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga, but noted that race at the upstate New York track is for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward.

The Test is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.

Sarah Sis ran second, beaten a head, to champion Take Charge Brandi in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn. Sarah Sis also won the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn, and, in her last start, the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) June 27 at Prairie Meadows.
Noble Performance?

Noble Bird is among 10 older horses entered in Saturday’s $1.25 million Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
The prestigious 1 1/8-mile race is a “Win and You’re In” event for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

Noble Bird, who spent much of the winter at Oaklawn for trainer Mark Casse, has already punched his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a victory in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) June 13 at Churchill Downs, another “Win and You’re In” event. Noble Bird has won three of his last four starts, including a March 21 entry-level allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn.

Oaklawn-raced horses have also accounted for the other two “Win and You’re In” events (Classic division) run so far this year. Hard Aces, sixth in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11, won the $500,000 Gold Cup (G1) June 27 at Santa Anita.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah won Sunday’s $1.75 million Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park. American Pharoah won Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

Also entered in the Whitney are Honor Code, Tonalist, Liam’s Map, Moreno, V.E. Day, Lea, Coach Inge, Wicked Strong and Normandy Invasion.

Probable post time for the Whitney is 4:46 p.m. (Central).
Busy Week

Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s co-third-leading trainer this year, is scheduled to start four horses in stakes races later this week, including Oaklawn maiden winner Allied Air Raid in the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

In addition to Allied Air Raid, Cox is scheduled to send out Sailthehighseas, sixth in her March 28 career debut at Oaklawn, in Friday’s $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga; Call Pat, fifth in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn, in Saturday’s $100,000 Groupie Doll (G3) at Ellis Park; and Nice Number in Saturday’s $200,000 Waya (G3) at Saratoga.
Finish Lines

Cox said 2-year-old Twirling Cinnamon is being pointed for a grass stake after making his first two career starts on dirt. Twirling Cinnamon, who finished eighth in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) July 25 at Saratoga, is under consideration for the $300,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sept. 5 at Kentucky Downs and the $75,000 Sunday Silence Stakes Sept. 12 at Louisiana Downs. … Cox lost Harlans Belle, a 3-year-old Harlan’s Holiday filly who broke her maiden Feb. 21 at Oaklawn, through a $16,000 claim July 30 at Saratoga. Harlans Belle ran 11th in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4 at Oaklawn. … Trainer Ron Moquett said his 2-year-old Super Saver colt, Super Numerator, will likely debut this fall at Keeneland. Moquett also has an unstarted 2-year-old Friesan Fire colt, Tisdale, who is named after the late University of Oklahoma basketball great Wayman Tisdale. … March 1 Oaklawn allowance winner The Big Beast is pointing for the $700,000 Forego Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga, owner Alex Lieblong said. The Big Beast was beaten a nose in his comeback race, the $350,000 Vanderbilt Handicap (G1), Saturday at Saratoga. Lieblong said earlier in the summer that the Vanderbilt and Forego would be the Saratoga goals for The Big Beast, returning from a foot problem. … Lieblong said his two top 3-year-old fillies, High Dollar Woman and Embellish the Lace, are ticketed to run Aug. 22. Embellish the Lace is headed to the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and High Dollar Woman the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) at Monmouth Park. Embellish the Lace was scratched from a Jan. 17 entry-level allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn because of an ankle problem and didn’t run at the meeting. High Dollar Woman ran fifth in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn. … Lieblong’s Set the Trappe, a 2-year-old Trappe Shot colt, is scheduled to make his career debut Saturday at Saratoga. The $300,000 yearling purchase was entered July 25 at Saratoga, but was scratched after drawing the rail. … Trainer Will VanMeter, who won four races at the 2015 Oaklawn meet, saddled his first winner for new client John Ed Anthony (Shortleaf Stable) Saturday at Ellis Park in Arctic Slope. It was the seventh career victory for VanMeter, whose first career score came at the 2014 Oaklawn meet with Pearl Turn. VanMeter will saddle Pearl Turn in Saturday’s $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) at Ellis Park. Also entered in the Groupie Doll is Pistolpackinpenny, winner of the $75,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes March 6 at Oaklawn, and Oaklawn stakes-placed Flashy American.