Andrew Caulfield wrote about Wayne Lukas' Rebel winner Will Take Charge in his Pedigree Insights column in Thoroughbred Daily News the other day......and you all read Thoroughbred Daily News, right? I mean, it's free to subscribe, and contains about the most comprehensive coverage of racing, breeding, and sales news you can find anywhere, so why wouldn't you? I imagine there was alarm there when the Racing Form announced they were starting a breeding section, but thinking now that they're not losing any sleep over that, at least as of yet.
Anyway, I mentioned Take Charge Lady, the dam of Will Take Charge and last year's Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, the other day, and Caulfield elaborates:
Take Charge Lady originally cost $175,000 as a yearling, but she proved so successful that her price soared to $4.2 million as a 5-year-old in 2004, when she was sold in foal to Seeking The Gold. The Seeking The Gold filly she was carrying repaid $3.2 million towards her purchase price when sold as a yearling. Two years later, her yearling filly by Storm Cat made $800,000. Bearing in mind that the Seeking The Gold filly won only once and the daughter of Storm Cat failed to win, it is hardly surprising that buyers failed to maintain such enthusiasm for Take Charge Lady's yearlings. Her A.P. Indy colt [Take Charge Indy] RNA'd at $80,000 in 2010 and then her Unbridled's Song colt [Will Take Charge] made $425,000 in 2011, a year when two other Unbrdled's Song yearlings achieved seven-figure sums. [TDN]Take Charge Lady has a 2012 foal by Indian Charlie.
The Spiral Stakes at Turfway drew a full field of 12 horses in search of qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (as well as a share of the rich $550,000 purse). Though I don't really understand why a race on synthetic would earn points towards a stakes race run on dirt. I thought the idea was to keep out horses that are just taking up space in the 20 horse field; so why would you allow some synth, or perhaps turf, specialist to sneak in and clutter the track? Don't see any grass races on the qualifying race list, other than the very first one back in September, in England, which is ridiculous in itself. Perhaps Churchill Downs is being kind to their in-state neighbors at Keeneland and Turfway, who wouldn't appreciate being excluded from the party.
Take, for example, Lukas' entry Channel Isle (15-1). Graduated on grass, and though he does have a dirt win against an Oaklawn allowance field that has come back very weak so far, he's been trounced in two stakes tries on dirt. This horse is so thoroughly bred for grass - English Channel out of an Irish female family that is just dripping with classy Euro grass winners, including Group 1 winner Darara (in turn, the dam of five Group 1 winners and four champions) - that it seems obvious that the connections are clutching at synthetic straws here, and looking for any way to grab enough points to guarantee them a vanity trip to Churchill Downs, where he'd most certainly be far up the track. And you might say the same about Balance the Books (7-2), a two-time graded stakes winner on grass at two and third in the BC Juvie Turf. Why would this horse possibly be making his three-year old debut on something other than turf, the only surface he's ever run over? Don't see why horses like that should be guaranteed a spot in the Derby starting gate for winning a race like this.
Morning line favorite Uncaptured (3-1) on the other hand started his career on synth, but won two stakes on the Churchill track last year, so this would seem like a good opportunity in his 3yo debut. (Though trainer Mark Casse is 0 for 13 in the 61 to 180 layoff to graded stakes category....though he just missed with Pool Play in the Hal's Hope in January). Don't know about this race as a Derby prep, but sure looks like a great betting race. And isn't that what this game is all about?