Oaklawn News

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Owner Considering Retirement for Champion Take Charge Brandi

Take Charge Brandi’s career is apparently over. Owner Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., said Wednesday afternoon that he’s “90 percent” certain Take Charge Brandi will be retired after being eased in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Parx, the champion’s second consecutive poor performance following a knee injury earlier this year.

“I don’t want to break her down,” Horton said.

Horton said Take Charge Brandi is now at Churchill Downs, adding he wants to talk to the filly’s Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, before moving her to another location to begin preparing for a broodmare career.

Horton said Lukas, 80, continues to recover in a Pennsylvania hospital after suffering a cardiac incident before Take Charge Brandi was scheduled to run in the Cotillion and stablemate Mr. Z in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx in suburban Philadelphia.

Horton said his plan now is to breed Take Charge Brandi to Tapit or War Front.

Take Charge Brandi wintered at Oaklawn and won the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 31 in her 3-year-old debut. She was scheduled to face males, notably 2-year-old champion American Pharoah, in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 14 when a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee was discovered four days before the race.

Take Charge Brandi underwent surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., to insert a pin and was sidelined approximately 60 days. The filly resumed training in late spring at Churchill Downs and made her comeback in the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) Aug. 8 at Saratoga. However, after leading for a half-mile, Take Charge Brandi faded 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. In the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion, she was a forward factor until the second turn, when she began to shorten stride and was eased in the stretch by Saez.

“She came out of the race fine,” Horton said. “But, apparently she’s got something bothering her. I don’t know what it is, but she’s got something bothering her.”

Horton purchased Take Charge Brandi for $435,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The daughter of Giant’s Causeway has a 5-1-0 record from 11 career starts and earnings of $1,692,126. She won an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 2-year-old filly after winning her last three starts, including the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
Staying Home

Ivan Fallunovalot made his final start of 2014 in the Remington Park Sprint Cup, but that’s not the plan this year.

Ivan Fallunovalot is entered in Sunday’s $150,000 race at Remington Park, a 6-furlong event trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs said he hopes will be a springboard to the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

Howard decided to remain at home (Ivan Fallunovalot has been based at Remington since late summer), rather than ship to Keeneland for the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G3) Oct. 2. The Phoenix is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race.

“I just feel like if we took him over there and got him beat up, we weren’t going to get in,” Howard said, referring to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. “That’s going to be tough over there. We’d probably be 15 or 20-1. And over here, we’ll probably be the favorite.”

Among the top sprinters at this year’s Oaklawn meet, Ivan Fallunovalot is coming off a sharp 3 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 David M. Vance Sprint Stakes Aug. 15 at Remington. The gelding ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.01 under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, who retains the mount Sunday.

The Vance Sprint Stakes was the first start for Ivan Fallunovalot since he finished second to Alsvid in the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn. He made three other starts at Oaklawn, winning his 5-year-old debut Jan. 22 and the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7 before finishing second to Gentlemen’s Bet in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 7.  Alsvid and Gentlemen’s Bet are scheduled to run in the Phoenix.

The Remington Park Sprint Cup shares the card with the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3).
Super Saturday

Call Pat, fifth in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn, drew post 5 for the $400,000 Beldame Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares Saturday at Belmont Park.

Two-time Oaklawn stakes winner Street Story drew post 5 for the $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) for filly and mare sprinters Saturday at Belmont Park. Street Story won Oaklawn’s $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes and $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes in 2014.

Tapiture, winner of the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last year at Oaklawn, drew post 5 for Saturday’s $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs. Tapiture, to be ridden by three-time Oaklawn leading jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., has lost six consecutive starts.

Also entered in the 1-mile Ack Ack are Den’s Legacy, who snapped a 19-race losing streak in a March 18 allowance race at Oaklawn, and Agent Di Nozzo, winless in three starts this year at Oaklawn.

Irish You Well, third behind Den’s Legacy in the March 18 allowance race, is entered in Saturday’s $175,000 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs. Irish You Well is scheduled to break from post 5 in the 1 1/8-mile race, named for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Also entered is Smack Smack, trained by Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs.

Finish Lines

American Pharoah breezed a half-mile in :49.80 Monday at Santa Anita, the Triple Crown winner’s first work since finishing second in the $1.6 million Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga. The champion is pointing for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland, his final career start before beginning a stallion career. The champion can become the third Arkansas Derby winner to capture the Breeders’ Cup Classic, following Concern in 1994 and Curlin in 2007. … Ron Moquett, Oaklawn’s sixth-leading trainer this year, has set a career high for purse earnings, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Moquett entered Thursday with $1,628,269 in purse earnings this year, surpassing his previous high of $1,613,534 in 2013. Moquett saddled his first winner in 1998. … Robertino Diodoro, who made a big splash at his first Oaklawn meeting in 2015, won his second consecutive training title at the Canterbury meeting that ended Sept. 12. Diodoro won 49 races, 18 more than runner-up Mac Robertson, an Oaklawn regular. Diodoro had a 9-4-8 record from 33 starts this year at Oaklawn. … Owner Willis Horton said Take Charge Tressa, a 2-year-old half-sister to champion Take Charge Brandi, will probably make her career debut at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. Take Charge Tressa, a $1,250,000 yearling purchase, is receiving 30 days off, Horton said, because of a recent leg problem. The daughter of War Front is a May 14 foal.