When it comes to three-year old fillies Oaklawn Park is second to none! Rachel Alexandra, Eight Belles, and Blind Luck are some of the recent names of fillies that ran at Oaklawn before going on to bigger and better things. While the track is known for its three-year old colt program, the fillies have been just as dominant. Last year it was Sugar Shock who followed in the footsteps of those legends, but did not go on to have the success that those before her did. However, this year we have a filly on the grounds that might be more accomplished than any of the previous horses mentioned were at this point her career. That filly would be Take Charge Brandi, who is a lock to win Two Year old Filly of the Year at the Eclipse Award this month. Her presence automatically makes this division something special.
Many people (including this dude) felt Hall of Fame trainer D Wayne Lukas was crazy for sending Take Charge Bradni to the Breeders Cup in November, but little did we know that “The Coach” had an ace up his sleeve. Take Charge Brandi shocked the horse racing world in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies winning wire to wire at an eye-popping 61-1. However, she wasn’t done yet! Three weeks later she traveled to Delta Downs and destroyed her competition in the Delta Princess, and then three weeks after that race she shipped to Los Alamitos where she showed her class once more barely holding on to win the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes. Her three race win streak was one of the most historic runs of all time by a two year old filly!
Take Charge Brandi has been given some time off since that amazing streak, but is planning to record her first workout this weekend. D Wayne Lukas says the tentative plan is to wait until March to run her in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes, and then the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes as she prepares for the Kentucky Oaks, however those plans could change if she works out well this weekend. Like all two year olds who turn three, Take Charge Brandi will need to continue to improve as the company will only get tougher from here on out. For now the Kentucky Oaks is the plan, but if she was to come back better than ever in the Honeybee…I wouldn’t rule out a race against the boys perhaps in the Arkansas Derby!
While Take Charge Brandi is undoubtedly going to dominate the headlines in this division we must look at some other challengers who will try to gun her down. Right now it’s a guessing game as most every other filly on the grounds haven’t established themselves quite yet. Perhaps the first one to mention is the undefeated Promise Me Silver who is running in the Dixie Belle Stakes on opening day. She hasn’t even been close to being beaten, but she might have distance limitations as we move closer to spring. Harlan’s Destiny is another that comes to Oaklawn on four race win streak, but those wins haven’t come against top class competition. Mississippi Delta and Perfect Fit are two other prospects that catch the eye at first glance. Mississippi Delta is coming off an awfully nice stakes win at Woodbine, and Perfect Fit was second in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington last time out.
So it’s that time of year where everyone has a sleeper horse…you probably have some of your own as well. It’s also that time of year where we speculate who might ship into Oaklawn to take advantage of this great series of races. We may not yet who the key players will be when April rolls around outside of Take Charge Brandi, but we know that whoever exits this tracks big races will be a major player in the Kentucky Oaks picture!