09/14/2013 6:20PM

Catching Up With Take Charge Lady: Grade 1 winner now a top-flight broodmare

Take Charge Lady, a three-time Grade 1 winning racemare, is now the dam of Grade 1 winners Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge.

Take Charge Lady was among the most remarkable racemares of her generation, scoring three Grade 1 victories in as many seasons of racing while bankrolling more than $2.48 million. And nearly a decade after last setting foot on the racetrack, she continues to make headlines in the Thoroughbred industry.

The 14-year-old Take Charge Lady, now a broodmare in Kentucky, has produced four winners, including two Grade 1 winners, from five starters. Following her son Will Take Charge’s narrow victory in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes last month, she is widely considered among the front-runners for the 2013 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year award.

Take Charge Lady has also found commercial success, with five of her foals selling as yearlings for an average price of $1,342,000. The most recent of those, a filly from the final crop of Indian Charlie, sold for $2.2 million to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm during the Sept. 11 session of the Keeneland September yearling sale. At press time, it was the highest price through the first 2 1/2 days of the sale.

“She’s doing great,” said Reiley McDonald, whose Eaton Sales purchased Take Charge Lady for $4.2 million on behalf of a partnership at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. “She was a beautiful, beautiful filly in training, and she was stunning when she came into the ring here at Keeneland. And she’s healthy, and she’s just been a better broodmare than anybody could imagine.”

Take Charge Lady, a daughter of Dehere out of the unraced Rubiano mare Felicita, was a $175,000 purchase by trainer Ken McPeek at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. It proved to be a bargain buy as she went on to win 11 of 22 career starts for the partnership of Cincinnati residents Jerry and Faye Bach, who raced as Select Stable. Jerry Bach named the filly in honor of his wife.

A Grade 2 winner as a juvenile, Take Charge Lady stamped herself among the leading fillies of her generation in her 3-year-old spring of 2002, capturing, in succession, the Grade 3 Silverbulletday Stakes, the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, and the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes before finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks. She rebounded to win the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes before defeating her elders in the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes. She added a second win in the Spinster the following season before retiring as a hallmark of consistency, with seven runner-up finishes in addition to her 11 victories. Take Charge Lady racked up a dozen triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures on the track, reaching a high of 109 three times in 2002: in the Silverbulletday, Ashland, and Spinster.

Take Charge Lady’s stock had risen dramatically by the next time she set foot in the auction ring at Keeneland, and that was reflected in Eaton Sales’s final bid. At the time, the mare was carrying her first foal, the Seeking the Gold filly Charming, and that daughter recouped some of her dam’s purchase price when she sold for $3.2 million to trainer Todd Pletcher, as agent, at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale. It ranks as the fifth-highest price tag for a filly at the Keeneland September sale. Charming went on to win 1 of 3 starts for James Scatuorchio and Michael Tabor.

Take Charge Lady’s two biggest success stories on the track have been Take Charge Indy, by A.P. Indy, and Will Take Charge, by Unbridled’s Song. McDonald, whose Eaton is the breeder of record for both, noted several physical traits the mare passed on to her offspring that have given them the tools to succeed in competition.

“It seems every year she passes along a big, beautiful foal,” McDonald said. “She’s got good size. What I love about her is her conformation, with a beautiful neck, a huge, massive shoulder, and good length, and a big hip. And it seems that Will Take Charge and Take Charge Indy really had those traits. Take Charge Indy had a few little conformational flaws – which certainly didn’t bother his racing – but he was a really good-looking horse with a beautiful profile. So that’s what Take Charge Lady has done that I think makes her such a good broodmare. She’s built in such an athletic way, and she passes that same body type on to her foals.”

Take Charge Indy became his dam’s first Grade 1 winner when he took the Florida Derby last year in front-running fashion for Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, but an injury sustained in the Kentucky Derby kept him out of action until fall, when he returned to be twice graded stakes-placed, including a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap. The colt added another graded stakes triumph to his résumé when he captured the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes this spring at Churchill Downs, finishing just 0.37 of a second off the track record. Take Charge Indy sustained a career-ending injury in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup, and begins his stud career next year at WinStar Farm.

Will Take Charge, a $425,000 purchase by Willis D. Horton at the 2011 Keeneland September sale, won the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes this spring – outdueling eventual classic-winning stablemate Oxbow in the Rebel – before contesting all three Triple Crown races, finishing unplaced in each. He bounced back to finish second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, the local prep for the Travers, before claiming the “Midsummer Derby,” charging late to nip Moreno by a nose.

“[Take Charge Lady] has that size and that scope, and she’s produced two-turn horses that have that same scope and the ability to carry their speed over a distance,” McDonald said. “When I was watching Will Take Charge, he was kind of just loping in the stretch, and it was that big stride that won the race.”

Take Charge Lady is currently in foal to Claiborne Farm stallion War Front after delivering a filly by that popular young commercial sire earlier this year.

“She has a War Front on the ground, a beautiful filly – and so good that the partnership would like to go back to War Front,” McDonald said.

“She just keeps putting out great foals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more to come,” he added.

1999, b. m. Bred by William Schettine (Ky.). Raced 3 years, 22 starts, 11 wins. Earned $2,480,377. Best Beyer: 109. At 2, won Walmac International Alcibiades S. [G2]; 2nd Golden Rod S. [G2]. At 3, won Ashland S. [G1], Overbrook Spinster S. [G1], Fair Grounds Oaks [G2], Dogwood S. [G3], Silverbulletday S. [G3], NTRA Great State Challenge Distaff Invitational S. [L]; 2nd Gazelle H. [G1], Kentucky Oaks [G1], Falls City H. [G2]. At 4, won Overbrook Spinster S. [G1], Arlington Matron H. [G3]; 2nd Apple Blossom H. [G1], Ogden Phipps H. [G1], Delaware H. [G2].

Produce record
2005 – Charming, m., by Seeking the Gold. Raced 1 year, 3 starts, 1 win. Earned $43,155. Best Beyer: 90. $3,200,000 yearling 2006 KEE-SEP.
2006 – Love Pegasus, h., by Fusaichi Pegasus. Raced 6 years, 23 starts, 2 wins. Earned $12,138. $85,000 yearling 2007 KEE-SEP.
2007 Elarose, m., by Storm Cat. Raced 3 years, 9 starts, no wins. Earned $15,417. Best Beyer: 69. $800,000 yearling 2008 KEE-SEP.
2008 – Barren
2009 – TAKE CHARGE INDY, c., by A.P. Indy. Raced 3 years, 14 starts, 3 win. Earned $1,103,496. Best Beyer: 109. At 2, 2nd Arlington-Washington Futurity [G3]. At 3, 1st Florida Derby [G1]; 2nd Clark H. [G1]; 3rd Fayette S. [G2]. At 4, 1st Alysheba S. [G2]; 2nd Skip Away S. [G3]; 3rd Donn H. [G1].
2010 – WILL TAKE CHARGE, c., by Unbridled’s Song. Raced 2 years, 12 starts, 4 wins. Earned $1,265,371. Best Beyer: 107. At 2, 2nd Remington Springboard Mile S. [L], At 3, won Travers S. [G1], Rebel S. [G2], Smarty Jones S. [L]; 2nd Jim Dandy S. [G2]. $425,000 yearling 2011 KEE-SEP.
2011 – No report.
2012 – f., by Indian Charlie. $2,200,000 yearling 2013 KEE-SEP.
2013 – f., by War Front.