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I'll Have Another, Take Charge Indy breeze for Derby
I'll Have Another, who established himself as a top Kentucky Derby contender with a game win over Creative Cause in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 over the Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Thursday morning.
"He worked alone and went great," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He got stronger as he went. He's spot on now. He'll have one more work at Hollywood on the 27th, then leave for Kentucky on the 28th."
I'll Have Another opened his three-year-old season with a 43-1 upset in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 4, rolling to a 2 3/4-length decision in his first start since a sixth in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes five months earlier. Freshened nine weeks in advance of the April 7 Santa Anita Derby, the chestnut son of Flower Alley rallied from just off the pace to post a nose score over the favored Creative Cause.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez will retain the mount in the Kentucky Derby.
O'Neill was asked for his impression of Bodemeister's 9 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last Saturday.
"If he runs a repeat of that race, we're all in trouble," the trainer said before adding, "but that's why they run these races."
Grade 1 Florida Derby hero Take Charge Indy recorded his penultimate work for the Kentucky Derby, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 over the fast track at Palm Meadows. The dark bay colt is not scheduled to ship from South Florida to Churchill Downs until May 1
"The horse is ready, the horse is fit," trainer Pat Byrne told Daily Racing Form after the work. "He'll have one more work (at Palm Meadows) next week, but he won't have any company. I'm going to do something next week just to do something.
"I've never been one to beat up on a horse. He's fit, now it's in the hands of the racing Gods."
Out of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Take Charge Lady, the son of A.P. Indy recorded a runner-up finish when making his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity last September and concluded his two-year-old campaign with a fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and a fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Take Charge Indy made his dirt debut in the latter and opened his sophomore season with a runner-up to eventual Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes winner El Padrino in a January 29 allowance/optional claiming event. He trained up to the March 31 Florida Derby and posted a one-length, wire-to-wire victory over a strong field that included Grade 1 winner Union Rags and El Padrino.
Three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel has the mount.
"He'll get the 1 1/4-mile off his pedigree and ability," Byrne said. "It's a wide-open Derby. I love the timing of the five weeks (between the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby). Calvin's very confident...he's got a lot of confidence in the horse. He said he had plenty left after the (Florida) Derby.
"I think if you talk to seven or eight trainers they would say they wouldn't trade places with anyone in the Derby. And I wouldn't, either."