Grade 3-placed Take Charge Brandi will aim for her breakthrough stakes win Saturday, Sept. 6, when she faces an expected nine other 2-year-old fillies in the $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will try for his fourth Pocahontas victory when he saddles Willis Horton's Take Charge Brandi on Saturday. Take Charge Brandi is out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Charming, a daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner and reigning Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, who has produced champion 3-year-old male Will Take Charge and Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy.
Horton and Lukas campaign Will Take Charge, who won last year's Travers Stakes and Clark Handicap, and finished a close second in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
POCAHONTAS STAKES DRAW
Take Charge Brandi will be returning to Churchill where she won her maiden special weight debut by 2 ½ lengths June 22. Since then, Take Charge Brandi finished second in the Schulylerville Stakes and fifth in the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
The Pocahontas is the initial "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" points race used to determine the 2015 Oaks field should more than 14 fillies enter. The Pocahontas also is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Some of the promising fillies awaiting Take Charge Brandi include stakes-placed Rachel's Ready, by More Than Ready; as well as debut winners Cristina's Journey, by Any Given Saturday; Pangburn, by Congrats; and True to You, by Scat Daddy.
Older fillies and mares also will be spotlighted on Saturday's Churchill card when locally based Grade 1 winner and fan favorite On Fire Baby goes for the sixth graded stakes win of her career. A homebred for Anita Cauley, two-time Grade 1 winner On Fire Baby boasts three graded stakes wins at Churchill, including this year's La Troienne and the 2011 Golden Rod and Pocahontas Stakes.
She could be challenged by last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia, who will face older fillies and mares for the first time. Ria Antonia has not won in six starts this season.