ALYSHEBA STAKES | PURSE: $300,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES
Trainer Pat Byrne had Take Charge Indy sharp for the $339,900 Alysheba Stakes presented by Besilu Stables at Churchill Downs, and the 2012 Florida Derby winner delivered May 3 with a powerful six-length victory.
Take Charge Indy was ridden in the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba by Rosie Napravnik, completing the distance on a fast main track in 1:41.41. He is owned by WinStar Farm and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford; WinStar owns breeding rights to the colt and a 50% interest in his racing career.
"We finally got a nice big race out of him," Byrne said after the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy galloped by daylight over eight other veterans. "He was touting us during the week and he trained really well. We prepped him a little sharp for the race and he has that natural speed. There was speed to the inside of us and Rosie just sat there and the horse is tractable. He'll wait and do whatever you want."
"They've been doing a great job with him and I was just really thankful for Pat Byrne and WinStar having me back on him today," Napravnik said. "He was so sharp and we had a great trip. He was excellent coming down the lane, he just accellerated really well."
Off alertly in a break that was good for all, Take Charge Indy showed good early speed and rated slightly off the pace set by Right to Vote. That one went through fractions of :23.74 and :48.28, but six furlongs in, the eventual winner swept past and extended his advantage to the finish.
Cyber Secret, the slight 5-2 favorite ridden by Robby Albarado, finished second but the Oaklawn Handicap winner was placed eighth by the stewards for interference into the run to the first turn. Hymn Book, who wound up a length behind Cyber Secret, was elevated to second and Bourbon Courage moved up to third.
Off at odds of 5-2, the winner returned $7.60, $4.40, and $3 while Hymn Book, 7-1, brought $7.40 and $4.20. Bourbon Courage returned $3 at odds of 7-2. Laugh Track, Macho Macho, Patrioticandproud, Richard's Kid, and Right to Vote completed the original order of finish.
Take Charge Indy, bred in Kentucky by Eaton Sales out of the mutliple grade I-winning Dehere mare Take Charge Lady, boosted his income past the million mark with the win. He now has a 3-4-2 record from 12 starts, with $1,094,133 in earnings. Take Charge Indy's half brother, Will Take Charge, is entered in the Kentucky Derby May 4 at Churchill.
Take Charge Indy made a successful return to racing in the fall of 2012 after spending time on the sidelines following surgery for a chip in his left front ankle. The big bay came into the Alysheba off a second-place finish in the March 30 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He was third in the Donn Handicap at the start of the year after closing 2012 with a runner-up finish in the Clark Handicap back at Churchill.
"He's come back great and there are some nice opportunities for handicap horses," Byrne said. "We're stabled here, obviously, so the [June 15] Stephen Foster makes some sense. It will all come down to a discussion between WinStar and the Sanfords. For now, we're just going to enjoy today. We're just so happy for the horse winning a Grade 2."