With trainer Pat Byrne looking on, Take Charge Indy went :24.06 and :48.26 under exercise rider Eric Rodriguez, according to Daily Racing Form columnist and clocker Mike Welsch. Take Charge Indy worked in company with Transplendent, a maiden from the barn of John Kimmel.
“The horse is ready, the horse is fit,” said Byrne later at his barn. “Eric said he was like a Cadillac. 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. He’ll clip off 12’s like that all day. I told the rider not to do too much and he didn’t take a deep breath.”
Take Charge Indy, a Kentucky-bred son of A.P. Indy, is scheduled to leave Palm Meadows May 1 for Churchill Downs and the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1). Take Charge Indy, who finished fourth across Churchill Downs Nov. 5 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a second-place finish Jan. 29 to eventual Risen Star (G2) winner El Padrino. Just eight weeks later, Take Charge Indy beat seven others, including El Padrino and Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Union Rags, in the $1 million Florida Derby.
Byrne has little doubt Take Charge Indy will get the Derby’s 1 ¼ mile distance.
“He’ll get the 1 ¼ mile off his pedigree and ability,” he 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.”