03/03/2015 8:20AM

Take Charge Brandi to face males in Rebel Stakes

Coady Photography
Take Charge Brandi wins the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn on Jan. 31.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Take Charge Brandi, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2014, will make her next start in the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday. Her presence in the race sets the stage for a showdown between last year's 2-year-old champions, as the race also is the target for American Pharoah, the champion 2-year-old male of 2014 trained by Bob Baffert.

Take Charge Brandi had been considered for the Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee against her own division Saturday at Oaklawn but will not be entered in the race, said Lukas, who trains the champion for Arkansas resident Willis Horton.

“Mr. Horton decided that he would like to take a chance against the colts, for the larger purse, and try the Rebel,” said Lukas.

Lukas said Take Charge Brandi's long-term objective remains the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

“We’re going run this one and then we’ll take a look at either the Fantasy or Ashland,” Lukas said of the Kentucky Oaks preps run at Oaklawn and Keeneland, respectively.

Lukas said a rider for Take Charge Brandi in the Rebel has not been decided. Jon Court guided the filly to victory in the $100,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn in her 3-year-old debut Jan. 31, while Victor Espinoza teamed with Take Charge Brandi for her win in the Grade 1 Starlet at Los Alamitos on Dec. 13. Lukas said Tuesday morning that the rider situation is being discussed with Horton.

“We have a lot of options,” Lukas said. “The Rebel gives us a lot of options because of the date. The Rebel falls into an open date for various stakes around the country. The Honeybee conflicts with a number of races in Florida and California, whereas the Rebel opens up the door for a lot of possibilities. Our main concern would be that we’d like to get somebody that would stay with her. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be a local rider, either.”   

Take Charge Brandi worked Monday at Oaklawn, going five furlongs in 1:01.80 in company in the first set, on a track rated good. Lukas said Tuesday she emerged from the work in good order and would have one more breeze up to the Rebel, with it likely to be held Saturday or Sunday at Oaklawn.

Take Charge Brandi has won four stakes in her last four starts, a streak that dates back to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

Joe Conforto More than 1 year ago
She will win the Kentucky Oaks guarantee .
Joe Conforto More than 1 year ago
Take charge Brandi can run with the boys.
Joe Conforto More than 1 year ago
This horse is really good
David Davison More than 1 year ago
the only way to know how good the horse is, is to run it with the best. She will have a chance to show off how good she really is in this race. Sometimes it takes a gamble to find out and Willis Horton likes to play the horses. He did not get the horse of the year with Will Take Charge by not racing the best. He took some risks and it paid off. I wish him luck .
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
Can someone please explain to me exactly how a filly gets “beat up” or “hurt” while running against male horses? Please be specific as I am new to this game. Do male horses intentionally bump her, push her, kick her, smack their tails at her while running. Does this only happen when a filly runs against males? Not sure I understand how an 1,100 pound filly can be beaten up by 1,000 or even 1,200 pound horses, male or female. And how in God’s Holy Name does she get “hurt?” Do you mean just because she’s a filly her feelings are “hurt” if she loses? Does she have to run harder because she’s a filly and might pull a muscle or something? That makes no sense to me. I just don’t get the concept of a filly getting “beat-up” or “hurt” because she’s running against males. And if she happens to lose or run out of the money, does that really mean she is “beat-up” or “hurt?” Horses, males and females, lose and run out of the money every day, hundreds of times a day, thousands of times a year. I do not believe they are beat-up and hurt if they lose. If that was the case, there would no longer be racing. In Europe, good fillies and mares, even mediocre ones, have been running against colts and geldings for over 300 years. I don’t recall too many female horses getting beat-up or hurt in Europe when they lose. I think this silly concept of fillies getting beat-up or hurt while running against males may be a leftover crock-pot theory because of the Ruffian v Foolish Pleasure match race years ago. For the record I believe that for the most part, male horses are a faster than female horses in general. And I also believe American Pharoah will defeat Take Charge Brandi but that doesn’t mean I think Take Charge Brandi has the slightest bit more chance of getting “beat-up” or “hurt” in this race than any other horse, male or female. Vince Piscitelli
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
When fillies/mares get on a roll ,sharp,confident like Take Charge Brandi you ride that wave .Theyre typically more delicate mentally.By saying beat up they mean getting beat badly and breaking her spirit .Example look what happened to Rio Antonia.When you mess thier head up it can be tough to get it back on straight again.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Randy's comment below is exactly correct. Especially with mares. Also, a great race horse like TCB has heart and is going to try as hard as she can to beat these. Sometimes when horses are digging deep and getting outrun they can and do hurt themselves...not just mentally....but, physically. You have 1,100 pound animals running on legs the size of your wrist. The long time goal for most mares is her worth in the breeding shed. Now, if you think she should go on the Triple Crown Trail...that's fine. I get it, the purse money is bigger....but, so is the competition. The Kentucky Oaks would be my goal....as having an opportunity to win that race is as prestigious for a mare as anything. TCB has a good handle on the other 3 year old fillies at this time. Running in the FG Oaks and then the Kentucky Oaks in that order gives her the best shot to do that. The only reason to run in the Rebel is if you are planning to run in the Kentucky Derby. The added purse in the Rebel means nothing, if it might jeopardize her Kentucky Oaks chances or future BC chances. So, yes, Vince...if she doesn't get hurt then Lukas is a genius....but, if she does...it's on him. There is no long term gain.....financially or otherwise to face males...there just isn't. Short term it might be fun for them...but, the risk is more than the gain if you ask me. I'm not saying she can't run with the boys. If you think that, you are entirely missing my point. I'm saying, why risk it? Nothing to gain but maybe a little purse money. Which in the long run is nothing compared to possible BC paydays and/or broodmare worth down the road. Believe me, if she was to go in the FG Oaks and win and then go on to win the Kentucky Oaks....she would be a legend. And trust me...that wouldn't be easy. Why take on the boys? It really is an unnecessary risk.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
I bred owned raced 25 years.Never had one as nice as this filly.But I do know many owners can get caught up thinking thier charge is better than it really is.Ego /greed are also in play.Lucas has beat colts before with Ladies Secret,Winning Colors,Serenas Song.Althea .Horton is getting Derby Fever I suspect and Lucas will not discourage him.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
It doesn't "hurt" a filly in any way to run against colts. It used to be common here and still is in other parts of the world. Some people now days just like to make much ado about nothing and it is ridiculous!
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Kind of think Wayne is trying to get points, but maybe has finally learned. AP will run in the BC sprint, just isn't a 1&1/4 colt........But won't pay any attention to preps, get a DRF 30 Apr for yum brands>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Butch Riley More than 1 year ago
Many of the posts are asking the question of why the Rebel? If I read the article correctly the owner said he wanted to try the Rebel at $750K vs. the Honeybee at $150K. Same track, same distance, but a 5 times higher purse. The trainers advise the owners about the right path the horses take but the owners make the final decisions - I don't think Lucas had much of a say other than to tell Horton that TCB is fit. And if she wins she has a nice bankroll and enough points for either the Derby or the Oaks. I say it's a good move and it will certainly add some excitement to an otherwise dull race. And I don't understand the comments that she will get beat up and ruined by the big boys. If she runs her race she will not be in a lot of traffic and should not get "beat up".
tina More than 1 year ago
I love this filly, I am hoping she can stay healing to run in the kentucky oaks and not get hurt running with the big boys.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
I completely disagree with this decision to run TCB in the Rebel. But, that's why Lukas is the mad genius and I'm just a fan. I love this filly. She is all heart and she'll try her best....I just don't understand why Lukas doesn't just wait for the Fair Ground Oaks and run her in there, which is a great prep for the Kentucky Oaks...but, heck that's just me...and we all know Mr. Lukas won the Derby with the great filly Winning Colors....so, I guess he knows best. It just seems to me no real upside in doing this to her. As for American Pharoah....I'm assuming Mr. Baffert must think he needs a race to go to the Rebel in the first place...seeing how the San Felipe is coming up in California soon enough.....that and keeping him and Dortmund apart is a good enough reason...but, I don't know if International Star and/or War Story are going into the Rebel...but, if they do...they are both the real deal and will give TCB and American Pharoah all they can handle. For sure if they all go, it will be a great Kentucky Derby prep. Still I have to end my post with my initial comment.....I completely disagree with running TCB in the Rebel. I just don't see any upside.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Kinda reminds me of Sharp Cat.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
But if she's going to win against colts like AP ,better to catch them running off the shelf while she's "sharp"
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Good point, Randy. AP coming off a layoff and injury. could Baffert have him at 90 or even 100%? Might be a good spot for a price, as he will be winging it from the start, along with TCB.
Guy John More than 1 year ago
Gary Stevens. He would be perfect for her.