Race of the Week 2017

Taking Charge in the Florida Derby - Take Charge Indy Pedigree Profile

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 Florida Derby.
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 Crown races.
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 distaff line.
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 bone. 
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 foals. 
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.


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Older Comments about Taking Charge in the Florida Derby - Take Charge Indy Pedigree Profile...

A lot of horses have a far different 3yo year than their 2yo year. He has staying power and endurance in his pedigree. Could be one for closer consideration.
TCI, with Calvin? He is in my exotics.
He reminds me of the mother more than a.p. indy, I doubt he will like the derby distance under pressure.
What an interesting write up on this horse..
One of my absolute favourite things about HRN are the pedigree profiles. So again, many thx. Makes me take 2nd and 3rd looks at them all.
It's those improving 3-year-olds that you need to watch out for. Plus he started in Chicago!!

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