Return to Sprint Could See Paula Take Charge

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

October 12th, 2017

A return to a sprint distance could be enough to get Take Charge Paula her first graded success in the six-furlong Matron Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park Oct. 15.

Take Charge Paula (Take Charge Indy) won her first start, at Monmouth Park over five furlongs, by 4 ¼ lengths, leading all the way. She then went into the 5 ½-furlong White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park, where she had plenty in hand after taking part in a speed duel in front to win by three lengths.

Trainer Kelly Breen then sent her to Churchill Downs for the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas Stakes (G2), which carried automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) over the same distance. Bumped at the start, she was prominent early but faded on the final turn.

Breen has returned Take Charge Paula to six furlongs in the Matron Stakes, which should suit her better.

Wesley Ward’s well-travelled filly Happy Like a Fool (Distorted Humor) is also entered for the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park Saturday, but if she is saved for this race she will be very hard to beat.

Happy Like a Fool won her debut at Keeneland in April over 4 ½-furlongs by four lengths, and on the strength of that joined Ward’s army to Royal Ascot. Well backed in the five-furlong Queen Mary Stakes (G2), she finished second to Heartache. Staying in Britain, she faded in the last furlong when asked to stretch to six furlongs in the Lowther Stakes (G2) Aug. 24.

Valuable Package (Kantharos) enters the race after a 7 ¼-length victory on her debut over six furlongs at Monmouth Park Sept. 10. Honey Graeme starts after following her successful maiden debut at Saratoga with a third-place finish in the Ontario Debutante Stakes at Woodbine Sept. 9.

The field is completed by Tarawa (Field Commission). Last of nine on her debut on the Belmont Park turf in June, she went on to win a 5 ½-furlong maiden claiming race on dirt at Saratoga in August before finishing sixth in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park.

In terms of previous performance, Happy Like a Fool is certainly the most accomplished horse in the field. There is probably some doubt about her staying the six furlongs, but if she starts here she will be very tough to beat. Take Charge Paula should improve on her Pocahontas effort, while none of the others should be ignored for multiples.