Champions American Pharoah and Take Charge Brandi Get Back to Work

Champions American Pharoah and Take Charge Brandi, both Oaklawn stakes winners, have returned to the work tab.

American Pharoah breezed 3 furlongs in :36.40 Monday morning at Santa Anita, the 3-year-old colt’s first work since winning the Triple Crown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes. The Pioneerof the Nile colt, who earned an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old male, won Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.

Among the races being considered for American Pharoah’s next start is the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park where he headlines 35 invitees to the 1 1/8-mile race. Also nominated to the prestig-ious race were Far Right and Mr. Z, both based at Oaklawn this winter and spring, Madefromlucky (runner-up in the Rebel and fourth in the Arkansas Derby), Tekton (unplaced in two allowance races at Oaklawn) and Oaklawn maiden winner Conquest Curlinate.

Take Charge Brandi, the country’s champion 2-year-old filly last year, worked 3 furlongs in :36.60 Saturday morning at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The filly, owned by Willis Horton of Marshall, AR, hasn’t started since winning the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 at Oaklawn.

Lukas was preparing Take Charge Brandi for a highly anticipated matchup with American Pharoah in the Rebel when she was diagnosed with a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee March 10 and underwent surgery two days later at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.

Saturday's work was the first for Take Charge Brandi since the surgery. Lukas said Take Charge Brandi is shoot-ing for a return at the Saratoga meeting that begins July 24. Among the races for 3-year-old fillies there are the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) Aug. 8 at seven furlongs and the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) Aug. 22 at 1 ¼ miles.
 
‘Betty’ Strikes Again

Include Betty earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 85 for her powerful 3 ¼-length victory in the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park. The race represented the second career graded stakes victory for Include Betty, who won the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4 at Oaklawn. Both races were 1 1/16 miles.

Chide, a March 18 career debut winner at Oaklawn, finished third in the Mother Goose, among the country’s most prestigious races for 3-year-old fillies.

Include Betty gave jockey Drayden Van Dyke, who grew up near Oaklawn and graduated from Lake Hamilton High School, his second career Grade I victory. Van Dyke was the country’s champion apprentice jockey of 2014.

Include Betty became the third Fantasy winner to capture the Mother Goose, following Davona Dale in 1979 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

Both Davona Dale and Rachel Alexandra were named champion 3-year-old filly. Rachel Alexandra was also named 2009 Horse of the Year. Close Hatches and Untapable, the 2013 and 2014 winners of the Mother Goose, respectively, won Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom Handicap the following year.  
 
Iowa Rewind

Oaklawn-raced horses had a strong showing in last week’s Iowa Festival of the Racing at Prairie Meadows. Two-time Oaklawn stakes winner Golden Lad captured the biggest prize, the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3), by 1 ½ lengths over Ecleto Red, a two-time winner in starter-allowance company at this year’s Oaklawn meet.

Golden Lad won Oaklawn’s $200,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) in 2014 and the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 14. Defending Cornhusker champion Carve finished fourth in Saturday night’s race to push his career earnings to $957,840. Carve won the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16 at Oaklawn.

In Saturday night’s $200,000 Iowa Oaks (G3), Sarah Sis held off Pangburn by a nose to win the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. Sarah Sis and Pangburn finished first and third, respectively, in the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 at Oaklawn.

The Iowa Oaks represented the biggest career victory for trainer Ingrid Mason, who saddled 12 winners at this year’s Oaklawn meeting to finish in a tie for seventh in the standings.

Other top performances during the Festival:

•    Diva’s Diamond edged Flashy American by a neck to win Friday night’s $100,000 Iowa Distaff Stakes. The mare had finished second to champion Untapable in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn.  Flashy American finished second in the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.

•    Ghost Locket, a March 28 allowance winner at Oaklawn, won Friday night’s $100,000 Saylorville Stakes for 1981 Oaklawn training champion Don Von Hemel. Ghost Locket was.

•    Oaklawn maiden winner Allied Air Raid finished second, beaten three lengths by Bent On Bourbon, in Saturday night’s $250,000 Iowa Derby (G3).

Finish Lines

Hard Aces, sixth in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11, beat Hoppertunity by a nose to win Satur-day’s $500,000 Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita. Hoppertunity won the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) last year at Oaklawn. … Hard Aces’ marked the sixth Grade 1 stakes victory by horse that raced at Oaklawn earlier in 2015. Overall, Oaklawn horses have accounted for 15 graded stakes around the country since the meet ended April 11. …Chris Hartman, who won his first Oaklawn training title this year, saddled 11 winners at the recently con-cluded Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting to tie for sixth in the standings. Hartman was based at Churchill Downs for the first time. Six-time Oaklawn training champion Steve Asmussen won 17 races at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting to finish second to Mike Maker (23). … Three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. rode 17 winners at the Churchill Downs spring/summer meeting to finish ninth in the standings.

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