01/22/2013 1:55PM

Gulfstream Park: Take Charge Indy very strong in work for Donn Handicap

Tom Keyser
ake Charge Indy missed much of his 3-year-old season after suffering a bone chip in the Kentucky Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Take Charge Indy, the reigning Florida Derby champion, gave every indication he will be a force to be reckoned with when he returns to the scene of his finest hour to launch his 2013 campaign in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap after working five furlongs in 1:01.18 at Palm Meadows early Tuesday morning.

With jockey John Velazquez aboard for the first time, Take Charge Indy was full of himself coming to the five-eighths pole but rated nicely, posting early fractions of 25.03 and 37.52 seconds before exploding down the stretch without need of much urging. Take Charge Indy was full of run coming across the wire and proceeded to gallop out equally as strong into and around the turn, completing six furlongs in 1:13.78 and pulling up seven-eighths in 1:27.78.

Both trainer Pat Byrne and Velazquez were excited after the work.

“I’m sure Johnny chirped to him a little bit, because he was just 25 and then boom, at the eighth pole he exploded,” Byrne said. “I loved the work. He looked good getting over the track. He galloped out thirteen and change after an opening quarter of 25 – that’s pretty good. And he did it going on his own, too. I haven’t done a lot with him, but he just does so well fresh. He loves it down here, mentally he’s sharper. We’re right on schedule for the Donn.”

After backing Take Charge Indy up to the wire, Velazquez said the horse was so sharp going into the work that he was a little concerned he might not be able to gallop his horse around to the pole,

“Backing him up, he was pretty aggressive for me,” Velazquez said. “He was trying to run off with me the wrong way, and normally I don’t have to gallop that long going to the pole.

“He settled into the work fine. He was settled but on the bridle. I let him go little by little, and when he finished, he reached out really good then galloped out nice, very nice.”

Take Charge Indy is owned by Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, who sold breeding rights to the colt to WinStar Farm last summer. A son of A.P. Indy, Take Charge Indy missed much of his 3-year-old season after suffering a bone chip in the Kentucky Derby. He closed out the year finishing second behind Shackleford in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Velazquez also worked a second horse for Byrne on Tuesday, a 3-year-old filly named Successful Luck who went three furlongs from the gate in 37.05 seconds. Successful Luck is a half-sister to Eclipse Award winner Blind Luck by Successful Appeal.

“We had her in as a 2-year-old, but she just needed time to grow up,” Byrne said. “She looks like she’ll be a nice filly. We thought as long as we had Johnny up here for the colt, we’d put him on the filly, and he was very impressed. He said she’s not that far off, so hopefully she might only be about three weeks away from running.”