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Homeracing

Take the Stand captures Muniz Memorial

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

March 26th, 2016

Take the Stand did just that on the front end of Saturday’s $300,000 Muniz Memorial H. (G2) at Fair Grounds and led all the way home to earn his first stateside stakes victory.

Taking full advantage of the rail post position, jockey Edgar Prado sent Take the Stand as soon as the gates opened. The duo proceeded to set splits of :23.54, :47.59, 1:10.98 and 1:35.38 while tracked by Roman Approval and 2-1 favorite Chocolate Ride.

Neither of those runners, or anyone else in the field for that matter, could catch Take the Stand as he finished 1 1/8 miles over the firm Fair Grounds turf in 1:47.80 under a hand ride.

World Approval was the only one to make up ground, rallying to cut Take the Stand’s margin to 1 1/4 lengths on the wire while finishing second by 1 1/2 lengths over Closing Bell in third. Chocolate Ride just missed the show spot by a neck.

Take the Stand competed in his native country of Argentina until taking a Group 3 contest in February 2015, then shipped stateside and showed up at Saratoga over the summer. Following a couple months’ worth of works, the dark bay son of Not for Sale made his U.S. debut in an allowance/optional claimer at Saratoga and finished seventh.

Undeterred, he showed up three weeks later to score against those same types of rivals at the Spa. Take the Stand closed out his 2015 campaign with a fourth in a Belmont allowance/optional claimer and a well-beaten eighth when sent to Florida for the Tropical Turf H. (G3) at Gulfstream Park West.

Opening his five-year-old season with a neck second in the Tampa Bay S. (G3) last out on February 13, Take the Stand improved his career record on Saturday to read 12-6-2-1 and more than doubled his bankroll to $317,631.

The dark bay horse is out of listed winner and dual Group 1-placed Taken Away, and comes from the same female family Grade 1-winning millionaire Colstar.

Take the Stand photo courtesy of Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography

MERVIN MUNIZ QUOTES

Edgar Prado, jockey Take the Stand, winner: “He loved the lead last time and was happy. Unfortunately we got beat then. He was running every step of the way today and drew off in the stretch. The first quarter we were going pretty easy. We picked it up in the second quarter and he was doing it so easy. When they tried to come close to me, my horse just leveled off again.”

Rodolphe Brisset, assistant trainer Take the Stand, winner: “We were not really expecting to be on the lead today because there was a lot of speed on paper, but the horse took him (Edgar Prado) there again, same as in Tampa, and he just took off at the quarter-pole and was very impressive today.”

Earle Mack, owner Take the Stand, winner: “Edgar saw that it was a slow pace and being a journeyman rider he went and took the lead despite all the (expected) speed in the race. Thank you to him and Bill Mott. We're very proud.”

Julien Leparoux, jockey World Approval, second: “We got the outside post so that didn’t help us. The winner was on the lead and got loose from us, but my horse ran a big race.”

Jose Lezcano, jockey Closing Bell, third: “I had kind of a rough trip. He broke good, but I didn't want to be on the pace. I had room, I just think that he's kind of one-paced. The way the turf was playing, I think maybe you have to be kind of up close.”

Florent Geroux, jockey Chocolate Ride, fourth: “Great trip. I thought I was perfect where I was on the first turn. I was sitting right behind the pace. I tried to challenge the two horses in front of me at the half-mile pole, but I only passed one. The other kept running. He went fast.”

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