11/02/2014 2:13PM

Texas Red, Take Charge Brandi no locks for Eclipse Awards

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Keith Desormeaux says he feels Texas Red beat the best field of 2-year-olds assembled this year in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

ARCADIA, Calif. - For the second consecutive year, the winners of the two Breeders’ Cup races for juveniles are far from certain to win divisional championships.

Though Texas Red was a dominant winner of Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, it was his first win in a stakes. In September, he finished third behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes. American Pharoah, who also won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, was withdrawn from the Juvenile on Tuesday with an injury.

Meanwhile, Take Charge Brandi’s 61-1 upset in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies certainly muddied the waters in that division. Each of the six Grade 1 dirt/synthetic races contested for juvenile fillies - the Spinaway (Condo Commando,) Frizette (By the Moon), Alcibiades (Peace and War), Chandelier (Angela Renee), Del Mar Debutante (Sunset Glow),  and Juvenile Fillies (Take Charge Brandi) - was won by a different horse.

Lady Eli, the dominant winner of Friday’s Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies Turf who also won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo and is unbeaten in three starts, likely has to be thrown into the mix.

In 2013, New Year’s Day won the Juvenile at 10-1, but Shared Belief, who did not compete in the Breeders’ Cup, won the championship based on dominant victories in the Hollywood Prevue and Hollywood Futurity at now defunct Hollywood Park.

Ria Antonia was placed first by the stewards in last year’s Juvenile Fillies after the stewards disqualified She’s a Tiger for interference. She’s a Tiger was voted divisional champion.

Prior to last year, 26 of the first 29 Juvenile Fillies winners were voted champion and 23 of the first 29 Juvenile winners were voted champion.

Texas Red’s performance in the Juvenile could be tough to deny. Last early, Texas Red made a sweeping five-wide move and galloped to a 6 1/2-length victory over Carpe Diem.

“Some may say his move was the result of a pace falling apart in front of him but horses that were on the pace in some of the other races weren’t falling apart,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said. “He picked them up and really finished strong. I thought it was impressive the way he finished off nice horses by open lengths.”

Desormeaux said that Texas Red would remain in light training with him at Santa Anita before he begins to map out a 3-year-old campaign for the son of Afleet Alex. Desormeaux said he believes the horse will improve next year.

“This horse is so far physically from being mature. That’s what excites me the most,” Desormeaux said. “He’s only going to get stronger. Physically, he shouldn’t be this fast.”

Texas Red ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.91 and earned a 104 Beyer Speed figure.

Desormeaux said he believes that Texas Red beat the best field of 2-year-olds assembled this year and “I think it showed he’s deserving of being a champion.”

Carpe Diem, the 9-5 favorite who got up in the last jump to nose out Upstart for second, and Daredevil, who stopped abruptly and finished last as the 5-2 favorite, were headed to WinStar Farm for a freshening, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Carpe Diem was “almost not recognizable” after taking so much dirt.

“The last sixteenth of a mile I thought he leveled off and ran really well,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said other than being very wide entering the first turn, Daredevil had no plausible excuse for his poor performance.

“Nothing has shown up,” Pletcher said. “He cooled out well, scoped fine. He was in good order this morning.”

Meanwhile, Sunday morning, D. Wayne Lukas was still basking in his record 20th Breeders’ Cup victory and sixth in the Juvenile Fillies. Take Charge Brandi, the longest shot in the field at 61-1, led gate to wire and held off Top Decile to win by a half-length.

At $125.40, Take Charge Brandi was the third highest-priced winner in the 31-year history of the Breeders’ Cup behind Arcangues ($269.20 in 1993 Classic) and Court Vision ($131.60 in 2011 Mile).

It was Take Charge Brandi’s first stakes victory in her fifth try. Take Charge Brandi was second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville before double-digit length losses in the Adirondack, Pocahontas and Alcibiades.

“She just wants to be left alone,” Lukas said. “She had given some indications in the morning that she doesn’t want you fooling with her. Sometimes as trainers we try to get them to rate or go between horses. I told Victor [Espinoza] ‘just be a passenger. If she’s good enough she’ll win.’ ”

Take Charge Brandi ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.95 and was assigned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

Lukas said he believes that Take Charge Brandi won the most important race run in the division this year and for that she should be strongly considered for a championship.

“If you win the race that everybody wants to win, that’s got to count a lot more than a Grade 1 race at any racetrack,” Lukas said. “Every filly that was in the mix was there, we whipped them and we whipped them with style.”

Take Charge Brandi did return to Churchill on Sunday and Lukas said he would take a serious look at running Take Charge Brandi in the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes on Nov. 29.

Pletcher, who trained fourth-place finisher Feathered and 10th-place finisher Angela Renee - the 3-1 favorite- said both horses would return to New York and one or both could be aimed at the Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle at Aqueduct on Nov. 29.