11/12/2014 9:22AM

Lukas confirms Take Charge Brandi is headed to Princess

Emily Shields
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi (above) and stablemate Mr. Z are coming to Delta Downs for the Princess and Jackpot, respectively.

It’s not a hop, skip and a jump to get to Delta Downs in the small southwestern Louisiana town of Vinton.

“The last two hours are by stagecoach,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

Lukas on Wednesday confirmed he intends to send Breeder’s Cup winner Take Charge Brandi for the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess on Nov. 22.

It is not a simple trek to get to Delta. Horses flying in must land in either Houston or New Orleans, then van several hours to the Louisiana-Texas border track, nestled under mile-high pine trees.

The journey can be well worth the effort. Delta is putting on eight stakes worth $2.3 million on the afternoon of Nov. 22. The Princess, for 2-year-old fillies at a mile, and the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, anchor the card.

Lukas is targeting both races. He pre-entered Take Charge Brandi, winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies, in the Princess on Tuesday, and also made Mr. Z, fifth-place finisher in the BC Juvenile, eligible for the Jackpot. Lukas was just starting to work on shipping arrangements for both Churchill Downs-based horses Wednesday.

“We’re starting to firm up plans,” he said. “We’re trying to get there by [next] Wednesday. I don’t know how it’s going to shake out with the flights. We’re looking at all options.”

Lukas said Paco Lopez will ride Take Charge Brandi because Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for her BC win, has commitments in Japan. Lopez will also ride Mr. Z.

Lukas said the graded status and large purse of the Princess were among a number of reasons to send Take Charge Brandi. He also feels her natural speed will work well on the six-furlong track at Delta.

“She came out of the California race great, absolutely bouncing,” Lukas said. “When they’re good, we run them.”

There were 17 horses pre-entered in the Princess, but the field will be capped at 10.

Final entries for the Princess and the Jackpot will be taken on Nov. 18. There were 13 horses pre-entered in the Jackpot, including Wake Up Nick and Conquest Tsunami.

Take Charge Brandi races for Willis Horton. Mr. Z is owned by Zayat Stables.