It’s not often that the very best racehorses can reproduce the kind of success they had on the race track, in the breeding shed. Take Charge Lady is one such special case. A true star of the Bluegrass, she won Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland, before becoming the first horse to win back-to-back editions of the Grade 1 Spinster at the same track, since the great Bayakoa. Now she is in with a great chance to be named Kentucky’s Broodmare of the Year, thanks to the exploits of her two excellent sons, Will Take Charge, and Take Charge Indy.
As her fourth and fifth foals, the pair also represents Take Charge Lady’s only two male offspring. The strapping colts are both grade 1 winners, and only a mid-season injury suffered by Take Charge Indy in the Monmouth Cup, prevented a likely meeting of brothers in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Take Charge Indy, a son of A.P. Indy, became Take Charge Lady’s first Grade 1 winner when he defeated Union Rags in last year’s Florida Derby. Purchased privately by Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, after being bought back for $80,000 as a Keeneland yearling, Take Charge Indy was unfortunately injured in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Returning in the fall, he ran a bang-up second against older in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap.
Anyone who saw him devastate the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes field this spring at Churchill Downs, knew that at his best, Take Charge Indy could run with anyone. Those high hopes were ended, though, two starts later, when looking like he was primed to crush a grade 2 field at Monmouth, he was injured and retired to a stud career at WinStar Farm.
Meanwhile, his younger brother, Will Take Charge, has been an iron horse this year. The winner of the Smarty Jones and Rebel Stakes (over Oxbow) early in the 2013 season, the son of Unbridled’s Song disappointed during the Triple Crown season. Since losing the blinkers this summer, the long-legged colt has turned into a real monster. A fast-finishing second in the Jim Dandy, was followed by a last-thrust victory in the Grade 1 Travers that put him into the discussion for an Eclipse Award.
A strong win in the Pennsylvania Derby then proceeded his valiant run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Owned by Willis Horton, and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Take Charge Lady’s youngest son reached out to the wire, with his impressive long strides in America’s richest race, but fell just one jump short of catching Mucho Macho Man. He now stands as the leading candidate for Champion Three-year-old Male, as he prepares for next week’s Clark Handicap.
While both of her sons have proven to be major talents, it’s hard to say if either has accomplished as much as their talented dam. A bay daughter of champion juvenile, Dehere, Take Charge Lady won 11 of her 22 career starts. The consistent mare also finished second seven other times for trainer Kenny McPeek. Besides her Keeneland exploits, she also dominated the Silverbulletday Stakes and Fair Grounds Oaks, before finishing second as the Kentucky Oaks favorite of 2002.
Take Charge Lady was a hot commodity as a broodmare after her retirement. Acting as a predecessor to many of today’s high priced broodmare prospect sales, she was sold in 2004, while carrying a Seeking the Gold foal, for the princely sum of $4.2 million by Eaton Sales. Among her seven foals so far, include two big yearling purchases. Her first foal, Charming sold in 2006 for $3.2 million. Take Charge Lady did not have a foal in 2011, but her yearling filly, by Indian Charlie, just sold for $2.2 million at the recent Keeneland sale. She currently is in foal to War Front, and also has a weanling by that same sire.