Take Charge Indy Beats Union Rags in Florida Derby

Last year’s G1 BC Juvenile continues to shine in regards to finding Kentucky Derby 2012 prep winners. It was Take Charge Indy‘s turn in the spotlight as he controlled proceedings throughout and held off Reveron and Union Rags in Saturday’s G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

 G1 Florida Derby (3-31-12): 95 BSF (Take Charge Indy)

Take Charge Indy

Can Calvin Borel win another Kentucky Derby aboard Take Charge Indy? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

There was not much pace in the paper race and Calvin Borel sent Take Charge Indy straight to the front through moderate fractions of :47.71 and 1:12.09. For comparison purposes, Yara went :47.19 and 1:10.80 with eventual winner Grace Hall pressing in the G2 Gulftream Oaks earlier on the card. The hidden fraction between 4-6 furlongs (:24.38) was the key as Borel was able to slow things down, which put Union Rags and El Padrino at a huge disadvantage over a speed conducive oval.

Javier Castellano aboard El Padrino was intent on keeping Julien Leparoux and Union Rags hemmed in along the inside, and those race riding tactics, coupled with the controlled tempo up front, doomed the strong post time favorite.

Take nothing away from the winner. Take Charge Indy and Borel utilized their paper race advantage and now trainer Patrick Byrne looks like a genius for scratching out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. I have always liked the son of AP Indy but had my doubts about his ability to change course and return from a layoff to beat a field of this quality. The race shape may not be so kind on the first Saturday in May.

Union Rags had a useful final Derby prep, and if you liked him before this race, don’t abandon ship now. Everything seemed to go against him at the Gulf on Saturday. Sure, Leparoux could have been a bit more aggressive, but he thought he was on the best horse and could not do much behind tepid splits while pinned in. He had room to roam in the lane and finished up nicely while just missing the place, a length and a neck behind the winner. He galloped out in front and remains a serious Derby threat if he trains well leading up to the big dance.

El Padrino was the big disappointment. He tracked the pace wide and in the clear but had no answer when Castellano asked for run around the far turn. He ended up a flat 4th and may have bounced following a grueling Risen Star win. Also, he may be better on wet ground, something that we have talked about numerous times on the Fast Track radio show.

Reveron chased from 2nd all the way around the track and had just enough left to hold off Union Rags. The gem of consistency is on the bubble in regards to having enough graded earnings ($220k) to make the Derby gate.

Florida Derby Grade: B (86 out of 100)

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