08/05/2014 8:23PM

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga: Horton keeps it in the family with $1.25 million War Front filly


by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A filly by popular commercial sire War Front sold to Willis Horton, who campaigns two of her close relatives, for $1.25 million at the second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale Tuesday night.

The filly, bred in Kentucky by a syndicate, was consigned by Reiley McDonald’s Eaton Sales, as agent. Eaton purchased stellar producer Take Charge Lady, this filly’s second dam, for $4.2 million on behalf of a partnership at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas signed the ticket for Horton, who campaigns the filly’s Grade 3-placed half sister Take Charge Brandi, as well as champion and close relative Will Take Charge. He landed both those runners as yearlings for relative bargains, for $425,000 and $435,000, respectively. 

“That family has been so good to the Horton family, with Will Take Charge and now this filly, Take Charge Brandi, it's pretty special - I think a lot more than people really know,” Lukas said. “I don't think she'll ever be any cheaper than she was tonight.”

The filly is out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Charming, herself a $3.2-million yearling purchase and now the dam of two winners from as many starters. Her daughter Take Charge Brandi was an impressive debut winner at Churchill Downs, then returned to finish second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes on opening day at Saratoga Race Course. 

Take Charge Lady won three Grade 1 events and bankrolled more than $2.4 million during her own racing career. She now reigns as Kentucky’s Broodmare of the Year, with her offspring led by 2013 Travers Stakes winner and divisional champion Will Take Charge, and 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy.

With the rise of those two runners in recent years, Take Charge Lady’s commercial popularity has soared. The mare was the dam of the most expensive filly sold at the Keeneland September yearling sale last year, a filly from the final crop of Indian Charlie who sold for $2.2 million to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm. The mare is the dam of a War Front filly cataloged in this year’s Keeneland September sale.

Take Charge Lady is a half sister to stakes winners Commendation and Eventail, the latter dam of graded stakes winner Straight Story. It is the family of Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge.