Updated on 05/03/2013 4:46PM

Churchill Downs: Take Charge Indy romps in Alysheba

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Barbara D. Livingston
Rosie Napravnik urges Take Charge Indy as he scampers away from the field in the Alysheba.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It took Take Charge Indy more than a year to get back to the winner’s circle, but he did so in spectacular fashion Friday at Churchill Downs with a dazzling, six-length victory against eight older rivals in the Grade 2, $339,900 Alysheba Stakes.

With Rosie Napravnik aboard, Take Charge Indy ($7.60) stalked the early pace of longshot Right to Vote through a moderate early pace, then turned on the jets and rocketed away en route to the one-sided victory in the 1 1/16-mile, main-track race. He was timed in 1:41.47 on the fast track.

Cyber Secret got up for second but was subsequently disqualified to eighth when the stewards ruled he was the cause of a traffic jam going into the first turn that impacted several runners, most notably Macho Macho.

As a result, Hymn Book, who originally finished third, one length behind Cyber Secret, was elevated to second, and Bourbon Courage, originally fourth, was promoted to third.

There was no doubt about the winner, though. Take Charge Indy had not won in five starts since last year’s Florida Derby, his campaign interrupted when he emerged from the Kentucky Derby with a chip in his left front ankle. Last fall, he was second in the Clark Handicap here against Shackleford, and this winter at Gulfstream Park, he was third in the Donn and second in the Skip Away.

“He’s always been a very good horse, but he got hurt in the Derby,” said Patrick Byrne, who trains Take Charge Indy. “He had trained spectacularly coming into this race.”

Because of his affinity for Churchill Downs, Byrne said next month’s Stephen Foster Handicap is the most likely next start for Take Charge Indy, but he said he would not make a final decision until discussing all options with Chuck Sandford, the original owner of Take Charge Indy, and the WinStar Farm of Kenny Troutt, which bought into Take Charge Indy before he returned last fall.

“He’s so good at this track,” Byrne said.

The win was the third in 12 starts for Take Charge Indy, a colt by A.P. Indy whose dam, Take Charge Lady, also produced Will Take Charge, entered to run in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Take Charge Indy’s winning share Friday was $202,338, which brought his career earnings to just shy of $1.1 million.

Right to Vote set the early pace in the Alysheba through fractions of 23.74 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.28 for a half-mile, and 1:12.46 for six furlongs.

“It was easy to let (Right to Vote) go because my horse relaxed,” Napravnik said. “He was so sharp. It was just awesome.”
Byrne joked with Napravnik after the race that she won by too far.

“They’ll put too much weight on him next time,” he said.

The way Take Charge Indy ran Friday, he’ll have earned it.