Take Charge Indy,
six-length winner of the Alysheba (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day, will make
his next start in the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I)
at Churchill Downs on June 15, according to trainer Pat
WinStar Farm LLC and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford LLC’s
Take Charge Indy’s win in the Alysheba was his first since winning the
Florida Derby (GI) in March 2012. In the Kentucky Derby, he finished 19th
of 20 and came out with a bone chip in his left front ankle, which was removed.
“His win in the Alysheba was
vindication for everyone involved, including the horse,” Byrne said. “It
was almost a year to the day when he got hurt running in the Derby and
then he came back and ran like that.
“Numbers wise, his race in the
Alysheba was off the charts. I always knew he could be that kind of a
horse. You can look back at what I said about him over the winter. I
said, ‘At the end of the day, this is probably the most
talented horse I’ve ever trained,’ and I’ve had my hands on a couple of
Two of Byrne’s most notable horses are 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick and Awesome Again, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) in 1998.
“I think when it’s all said and done, (Take Charge Indy) might be a better horse than Awesome Again,” Byrne said.
In addition to winning the Breeders’
Cup Classic, Awesome Again also won the Whitney Handicap (GI), Stephen
Foster Handicap (GII), Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap (GII) and the
Hawthorne Gold Cup (GIII).
Take Charge Indy breezed four
furlongs in :51 at Churchill Downs on Saturday in his first work since
the Alysheba. He is scheduled to work five furlongs this Saturday or
Sunday with jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard. Byrne
said Take Charge Indy will work shortly after the track opens for training at 6 a.m.
Should Take Charge Indy win the
Stephen Foster, it would be the third victory in the race for Byrne, who
won back-to-back runnings in 1997-98 with City by Night and Awesome Again.
One horse Take Charge Indy likely will face on June 15 is Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned, who breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Trainer Ian Wilkes confirmed following
the work that Fort Larned is being pointed toward the Stephen Foster.
Fort Larned finished fifth as the 1-2
favorite in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in his most recent start on
April 13. He stumbled at the start and lost jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. in his first start of 2013 in the Gulfstream
Park Handicap (GII).