Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015) – Champion 2-year-old Filly Take Charge Brandi extended her win streak to four in a row and put herself on a possible path toward the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) against males after surviving a late charge by Sarah Sis to win Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes by a head. The Giant’s Causeway filly completed the one-mile race in 1:39 3/5 over a fast track, her first start as a 3-year-old.
Take Charge Brandi, ridden by Jon Court and carrying top weight of 122 pounds, broke on top and was allowed to set a relaxed pace of :23 3/5 and :48 for the first half mile. She shook off most of her competition rounding the turn into the homestretch and was able to escape a late charge by the stakes-placed Sarah Sis, who came up to inside to nearly catch the winner. The runner-up finished eight lengths in front of third-place finisher Indian Annie, an impressive allowance winner Jan. 17.
Sweet Corinna, High Dollar Woman and Perfect Fit completed the order of finish. Cape Town Stevie was scratched.
Although Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has stated since the first of the year that the ultimate goal for Take Charge Brandi is the Kentucky Oaks (G1) May 1 with her preps coming in the $150,000 Honeybee and $400,000 Fantasy Stakes, owner Willis Horton left open the possibility of her running in the Arkansas Derby.
"Well, you may get to see it in the Arkansas Derby, but let's take it one race at a time,” said Horton of Marshall, AR. “Our big goal is the Kentucky Oaks. If things work out, we may run in the Arkansas Derby and possibly the Kentucky Derby with her because Wayne is good with fillies and he's won the Derby with fillies before."
Take Charge Brandi, who has raced exclusively in stakes races since breaking her maiden at first asking last June at Churchill Downs, improved her record to five wins from nine starts and has earned $1,680,126. She returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10 as the heavy 2-5 favorite.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Oaklawn with a special 1 p.m. first post in honor of Super Bowl Sunday.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas - “This was a comeback race and we’re obviously glad to have it under our belts. She was a little erratic through the stretch, but it was her first time here. It gives us something to build on. The big thing is getting this under her belt and moving on to the next one.”
Jockey Jon Court – “I had reviewed tape of previous races, but there really weren’t any specific instructions from Wayne (Lukas). It was just an overall informational overview of what to do and what to expect. Basically, I was told just be a passenger and she’d do the rest.”
On late run by Sarah Sis
“I did see her, and I did hear her when she was making the approach. But, Take Charge Brandi actually, engaged again, just enough to hold on by a head.”