04/19/2012 10:03AM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Take Charge Indy goes easily in penultimate work

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BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – For a horse who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and defeated then division leader Union Rags less than three weeks ago, Take Charge Indy is receiving virtually no respect and hardly a mention in any discussions focusing on the leading contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby. All of that suits Take Charge Indy’s trainer, Pat Byrne, just fine.

“I like to be flying under the radar,” Byrne said shortly after Take Charge Indy worked five furlongs in 1:01.47 at a very quiet Palm Meadows training center shortly after dawn on Thursday morning.

Thursday’s breeze was the first for Take Charge Indy since his one-length victory over Reveron and Union Rags in the $1 million Florida Derby on March 31.

Breaking off at the half-mile pole outside workmate Transplendent, a maiden from the barn of trainer John Kimmel, Take Charge Indy posted splits of 12.26 seconds for the opening eighth and 24.06 for his first quarter. Take Charge Indy edged a length clear once settling into the stretch while well in hand and was never asked to the wire, completing a very easy half-mile in 48.26. He then continued out around the turn with exercise rider Eric Rodriguez beginning to ease up on his mount prior to reaching the mile pole, negating any possible gallop-out around the bend.

“First of all I’d like to thank John Kimmel for lending me his rider and a horse to use for company this morning,” said Byrne who shares Barn 21 at the nearly deserted Palm Meadows with Kimmel. “This is the first time Eric has ever been on him and he said he went like a Cadillac. I told him not to do too much with this horse, he’s ready, and I think that’s why he reached up and grabbed him a little early. He can clip off 12-second eighths like that all day. He didn’t even take a deep breath and you could see a big difference in him this morning compared to his final work prior to the Florida Derby. He’s a lot more focused when he goes in company.”

Byrne said he’ll bring Take Charge Indy back for one more work prior to the Derby, probably an even easier half-mile at Palm Meadows next Thursday morning. Take Charge Indy is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs along with trainer Todd Pletcher’s Derby contingent on May 1.

“I saw enough today to know my horse is where he has to be,” said Byrne. “He’ll have to run a little faster in the Derby than he’s been running, but I think he will. It’s all in the hands of the gods now. What a wide-open Derby this is going to be. The best horse doesn’t necessarily have to win the Derby, and at this point I don’t really know who the best horse is. If you talk to about seven or eight of the trainers in this year’s Derby they’ll all say they wouldn’t trade places with anybody. And I wouldn’t either.”

JAHMAN More than 1 year ago
Well in case people have short memories this trainer had awesomee again and favorite trick......beware
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Indy will take charge onMay 5, whether on the lead, just off a fast pace, or close. Take it to the bank.
Drayton Nay More than 1 year ago
These easy works are a mistake. Let me know where you finish in the Derby I can promise it will not be top 5 with works like that.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
We won't know until after the Derby but I'm not concerned about the easy works. My guess is that he's getting a lot out of his gallops and already has a great foundation from his 2 year old campaign. Looking at this field, I don't want a horse that is going to be speed crazy anyway. Just bide your time off the pace and click off the 12 second 1/8ths and he'll be just fine. Also don't forget (like only a few in the field) he is bred to LOVE a mile and a quarter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every horse is different, just as every trainer has different philosophies. There is no "one way" to get a horse prepared to run the race of his life at a distance completely unfamiliar to them. Hard Spun and Street Sense came into the Derby from opposite philosophical poles, but they both ran their best races that day. If Street Sense gets impeded just once on his rail-skimming ride from downtown, we're talking about the Derby winner Hard Spun. There are countless examples like those. I am much more concerned with how a horse works than how fast he works. Take a look at Union Rags last work available at youtube, and tell me how anyone can toss hm from the list of true contenders. I wanted to not like it, but he wowed me. He showed me that he is on target for a great performance. Could be Hard Spun "great" or Street Sense "great" depending on luck, probably.
Mike Susan Rullo More than 1 year ago
well said brad, he's a class act
William J More than 1 year ago
Well said.
Brad Chandler More than 1 year ago
Good luck Pat. You are a first class trainer and person!