Take Charge Indy did just that in the Florida Derby. Breaking sharply, the dark bay was guided to
the lead by jockey Calvin Borel. The duo set temperate fractions in the 1 1/8
mile race and were never challenged, flashing under the wire by an easy length. In a conveyer-belt fashion, Reveron, who pressed
the pace the entire way, finished second, a neck in front of Union Rags, the
heavy favorite. To be fair to Union Rags, he was in tight most of the way and
was the only horse in the field to make up ground in the stretch. Take Charge Indy stopped the clock in a good 1:48.79.
In the last twelve years, only Quality
Road (1:47.72) and Big Brown (1:48.16) have run a faster final time in the
Take Charge Indy was a fairly precocious juvenile for a son of A. P. Indy. He won his maiden in late July
over the Arlington Polytrack, a surface most of his sire’s offspring dislike. In
his next start, Take Charge Indy placed second in the Arlington –Washington Futurity,
then ran evenly for fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity at Keeneland. Trying dirt for the first time in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Take Charge Indy was steadied in the beginning of the
race and again ran an average race, placing fifth. In his first start as a three year old, Take
Charge Indy met up with the impressive El Padrino. Racing 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy Gulfstream
track, Take Charge Indy opened up by three lengths in the stretch and looked
like a sure thing headed for the wire.
There’s never a sure thing in horse racing. Take Charge Indy looked like
he was tied to the rail when El Padrino blew by him in deep stretch and he had
to settle for second place, beaten two lengths.
Other than his surprise victory in the Florida Derby, Take Charge
Indy has been pretty average during his racing career. Let’s examine the colt’s
pedigree running style and conformation to determine if his Florida Derby victory
was a fluke or if the Patrick Byrne trainee has a legitimate shot in the Triple
TAKE CHARGE INDY (A.P. Indy - Take
Charge Lady, by Dehere) is by one of the world’s most influential sires. A.P. Indy, a son of Triple Crown Champ Seattle Slew out of a mare
by another Triple Crown hero, Secretariat, was bread for greatness. The top-priced yearling of 1990, at $2.9
million dollars was sent off as the favorite in his debut at Del Mar in late August as a two year old. The huge, long-striding colt encountered
traffic and finished fourth. A quick
learner, A.P. Indy won his next three starts as a juvenile, ending his season
with a victory in the Hollywood Futurity (G-1).
The following year, A. P. Indy continued his ways, sweeping the San Rafael
Stakes (G-2) and Santa Anita Derby (G-1).
He shipped to Churchill Downs as one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky
Derby, but was scratched the morning of the race after developing a quarter
crack. Bypassing the Preakness Stakes,
the Neal Drysdale trainee prepped for the Belmont Stakes with a 5 ½ length romp
in the Peter Pan Stakes (G-2). A. P. Indy demonstrated his stamina in the
Belmont Stakes (G-1). He won only by 1 ¾ lengths, but his final time of 2:26
tied for the second fastest Belmont in history with Easy Goer. Only A.P. Indy’s damsire Secretariat was
quicker. After taking a summer vacation, A.P. Indy surprisingly finished out of
the money in the Molson Export Million Stakes (G-2) at Woodbine. He followed up with a third place effort in
the Jockey Gold Cup (G-1) after a poor start.
Sent off as the favorite in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Classic, A.P. Indy
didn’t disappoint. He stormed down the stretch to record a two length victory
over the top older horse, Pleasant Tap. His
exploits earned A.P. Indy year-end honors as Champion Three Year Old.
Retiring to stud after the Breeders’ Cup
Classic, A.P. Indy continued his greatness
in the breeding shed as the top producing son of Seattle Slew. The majority of A.P. Indy’s offspring are large, late-maturing types like their
sire. Thus, A.P. Indy was named a
Classic Chef-de-race, noted for passing stamina influences to his offspring.
Despite the classic influences passed along
to his progeny, A.P. Indy has few
offspring that have done well in the Triple Crown contests. He has never sired
a Kentucky Derby winner, but his son Bernardini won the tragedy marred 2006
edition of the Preakness Stakes. A year later, A.P. Indy's daughter Rages to
Riches was only the third filly in history to record a victory the Belmont Stakes
after a thrilling duel with eventual Champion Curlin.
Take Charge Indy’s dam Take Charge Lady was one of the top mares
of her generation on the race track. She
flashed talent early, winning her maiden in April of her two year old season.
She was victorious in the Alcibiades
(G-2) before finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Take Charge Lady started her three year old year
with a three race win streak, including a victory in the Ashland Stakes (G-1). On the strength of that achievement, Take
Charge Lady went to the post of the Kentucky Oaks as the favorite, but received
a shocking defeat, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by longshot Farda Amiga. Trained by Ken McPeek, the hardy mare racked
up 14 wins in a 22 race career, competing successfully against the top race
mares in the country. Ironically, she finished sixth in all three Breeders’ Cup
races that she contested, the Juvenile Fillies and twice in the Breeders’ Cup
Distaff. Take Charge Lady won three graded stakes at 1
1/8 miles and placed second once at 1 ¼ miles.
Anticipation builds around the offspring of good race horses and
expectations are high. Unfortunately, often times the progeny of strong, hardy
graded stakes mares are a disappointment.
Take Charge Lady foaled three babies before Take Charge Indy. None of them have visited the winners circle
more than twice. Take Charge Indy is easily
the most successful son in this immediate family. Take Charge Lady was the top
earner amongst her siblings. Her half-brother Commendation was a stakes winning
turf miler and a half-sister, Eventail won restricted stakes in New York. Two half-sisters, the aforementioned Even
Tail and an unraced half-sister Jessie Take Charge, produced the stakes horses
Straight Story, a top tour router, and the Grade 2 stakes placed Northern
Giant. The turf sprint specialist Chamberlin Bridge was produced by this
Take Charge Indy’s damsire Dehere, a son of two-time Champion
Deputy Minister out of a daughter of Secretariat, was a phenomenal juvenile. Dehere began his career in June of his two
year old season with a four length victory. He made racing history as only the
fourth horse in history to sweep all graded stakes contests for juveniles at
Saratoga, the Saratoga Special, Sanford, and Hopeful Stakes. Dehere place
second in the Belmont Futurity before a victory in the Champagne Stakes. Sent off as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile, Dehere placed a disappointing eighth, his only out of the money finish
in his career. Despite the loss, Dehere
was voted Champion Juvenile of 1992. There
were high hopes for Dehere’s three year old season. He posted a ¾ length win over
Go For Gin in the Fountain of Youth, but like so many other Derby aspirants,
Dehere’s racing career came to an end after he fractured his right hind cannon
Dehere is making his mark as a quality broodmare sire and he’s one
of the top 50 leading broodmare sires in North America. His daughters bore the
Champion Sprinter Midnight Lute, three Group 1 Australian winners and Louisiana
Derby hero Fresian Fire. That one has
similar breeding to Take Charge Indy, as both are by A.P. Indy. Dehere’s
daughters have produced seven stakes horses who have won at 1 ¼ miles or
farther. The cross of A.P. Indy with mares by Dehere has been quite successful.
The pairing has netted four winners and three stakes winners from five
Take Charge Indy is the spitting image of his dam, down to the
star on his forehead and white hind feet.
Mother and son are on the small side of average and aren’t overly
muscular. Despite his smaller stature,
Take Charge Indy has the build of a route horse, with a smooth topline,
powerful chest, deep shoulder and girth. He has a long, strong hip and good
balance. Take Charge Indy has fairly
high knee action like his dam, but also has good extension and a smooth gait. He normally prefers to press the pace, but has
demonstrated the maturity to sit behind horses. His pedigree indicates that 1 ¼
miles should be within his scope.
Despite his merry-go-round win in the Florida Derby, Take Charge Indy
appears to be improving at the right time and he could have an impact on the
outcome of the Triple Crown races.