Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Take Charge Brandi Emerges From Come Back Race Well

Champion Take Charge Brandi emerged in good order from her disappointing comeback race in the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Saratoga, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Monday morning. After leading for a half-mile, Take Charge Brandi wilted in the stretch and finished last of 10, beaten 24 lengths, in the 7-furlong race under Luis Saez, who wrapped up on her late.

Take Charge Brandi was making her first start since winning the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn. She was subsequently sidelined with a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee.

“She was short,” Lukas said. “Bad training job. I didn’t have her tight enough.”

After the knee injury was diagnosed March 10, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway didn’t return to the work tab until June 27 at Churchill Downs. She had six published workouts leading up the Test.

Lukas said he doesn’t have anything specific in mind for Take Charge Brandi’s next start, but he’s shopping for a two-turn race.

“Got to get her a little tighter,” Lukas said.

Take Charge Brandi had won four consecutive starts, including the Martha Washington in her 3-year-old debut, before being beaten in the Test. She won an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old filly.

Take Charge Brandi’s unstarted 2-year-old half-sister, Take Charge Tressa, recorded half-mile workouts in late July and early August at Saratoga, but is a May foal, Lukas noted, and not near a race.

“She’s behind,” Lukas said. “We’re not pushing her.”

Take Charge Tressa (by War Front) was the $1.25 million sale topper at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale for owner Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., who also owns Take Charge Brandi. He purchased a colt by 2010 champion older male Blame for $600,000 during the first session of the same sale Monday night.

Horton and Lukas also teamed to win an Eclipse Award (2013 3-year-old male) with Will Take Charge, who captured Oaklawn’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) in 2013 and the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in 2014.
 
Super Saturday

Oaklawn maiden special weights graduates The Pickett Factor and Allied Air Raid ran 1-2 in the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

The Prelude is the final major local prep for the $400,000 Super Derby (G2) Sept. 12.

The Pickett Factor, a Louisiana-bred Gold Tribute gelding, finished 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Allied Air Raid to win for the third consecutive time and fourth in five lifetime starts.

The Pickett Factor covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:44.42. The gelding won his Feb. 14 career debut at Oaklawn for trainer Ralph Irwin and his longtime client, owner Melissa Cantacuzene. Irwin and Cantacuzene also teamed to win Oaklawn’s $50,000 American Beauty Stakes in 2008 with Doyouwanttodance.

Allied Air Raid broke his maiden March 14 at Oaklawn for trainer Brad Cox.

Future Stars?

Several 2-year-olds who may be seen at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting debuted over the weekend at Saratoga.

Set the Trappe, a Trappe Shot colt, finished second in Saturday’s third race for owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., and trainer Tony Dutrow. The Lieblongs, Oaklawn’s fourth-leading owners this year, purchased Set the Trappe for $300,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale.

In Sunday’s sixth race for fillies, six-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen was represented by runaway winner Constellation, an $800,000 daughter of Bellamy Road. Also in the race were Reincarnation (by Malibu Moon), trained by Ron Moquett, Oaklawn’s sixth-leading trainer this year and The Vapors (Congrats), owned by John Ed Anthony, one of the most successful owners in Oaklawn history. Runner-up to Constellation was J La Tache, a daughter of four-time Oaklawn stakes winner Palanka City.
 
The Champions

Prairie Meadows’ spring/summer meeting ended Saturday with familiar names topping the standings.
Ramon Vazquez captured his first riding title with 94 victories, 30 more than runner-up Ken Tohill. Vazquez also led all jockeys in purse earnings ($1,870,287).

Vazquez was Oaklawn’s second-leading rider this year with 51 victories, two less than three-time champion Ricardo Santana Jr.

Federico Villafranco edged Lynn Chleborad 51-48 to capture his first Prairie Meadows training title. Villafranco saddled 18 winners at this year’s Oaklawn meeting to finish tied for third in the standings. Chleborad won nine races this year at Oaklawn to finish in a 14th-place tie. Chleborad led all Prairie Meadows trainers in purse earnings ($1,304,093).

Villafranco trains privately for Danny Caldwell, who captured his second consecutive Prairie Meadows owner’s title with 50 victories, 24 more than runner-up Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC. Caldwell also led all owners in purse earnings ($839,972). Caldwell won 18 races this year at Oaklawn to capture his second consecutive owner’s title.

Vazquez rides first call for Caldwell and Villafranco.

Finish Lines

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will work Sunday at Del Mar in preparation for his next target, the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga, owner Ahmed Zayat said. … Mr. Z will return to sprinting in the $500,000 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) at 7 furlongs Aug. 29 at Saratoga, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. Mr. Z wintered this year at Oaklawn and ran third in three Kentucky Derby preps: $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Mr. Z finished second in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) July 18 at Indiana Grand in his last start.  … Call Pat, fifth in this year’s $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn, won Saturday’s $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) at Ellis Park. Pistolpackinpenny, winner of the $75,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes March 6 at Oaklawn, finished third in the Groupie Doll, while March 14 Oaklawn allowance/optional claiming winner Pearl Turn was fifth. … Win the Space, sixth in this year’s Arkansas Derby, broke his maiden Aug. 1 at Del Mar. … Ronnie Udouj, whose family bred and raced Arkansas-bred standout Barbizon Streak, died July 27. He was 74. Barbizon Streak won Oaklawn’s Southwest Stakes in 1971 and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap in 1974 and was runner-up in the 1971 Arkansas Derby.


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