Photo: Sue Kawczynski / Eclipse Sportswire
Whisper Hill Farm’s homebred Charge It took another step forward for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Traverse with a half-mile breeze Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
The graded stakes-winning son of Tapit was among the first horses to greet the Saratoga main track and completed his four-furlong move in 48.77 seconds under exercise rider Hector Ramos.
The work was Charge It’s second serious work since an emphatic 23-length romp in the Dwyer (G3) on July 2 over a fast main track at Belmont Park for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
“He went really well, five-eighths by himself in 1:01 and change. He had a super strong gallop out, pulled up the mile in 1:42,” Pletcher said. “Essentially, we’re trying to follow the same program we did leading up to the Dwyer and he seems to be doing everything the right way.”
A distant 17th in the Kentucky Derby two starts back, Charge It will stretch back out to two turns for the Aug. 27 Travers, where he will likely face as many as four Kentucky Derby alumni. Prior to the Run for the Roses, he was a game second to White Abarrio in the Florida Derby (G1) in April at Gulfstream Park.
“He gives me every impression that two turns and a mile and a quarter is right within his wheelhouse,” Pletcher said.
Hailing from the influential bloodlines of 2014 Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, who was a Grade 1-winner in her own right, Charge It is out of the Indian Charlie mare I’ll Take Charge – a half-sister to Grade 1- winner Take Charge Indy and champion Will Take Charge. Other prominent members of the family include 2014 champion two-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi, multiple Grade 1-winner Omaha Beach and Grade 1-winning mare As Time Goes By.
Later that morning, Pletcher sent Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest to work in company with Shadwell Stables’ Malate hate for a half-mile breeze at 8:45 am
Piloted by exercise rider Amelia Green, Nest worked to the outside of the John Velazquez-piloted Malathaat, completing a half-mile work in 49.78 seconds over the main track.
The move was Nest’s first breeze since capturing the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 23 at the Spa.
Nest, a dual Grade 1 winner who captured the Ashland at Keeneland before finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), is on target for the $600,000 Alabama (G1) on August 20 at Saratoga. But Pletcher said the current leader of the sophomore filly division is still possible for the Travers.
“She worked well this morning and we’re targeting Alabama at the moment,” Pletcher said. “We haven’t ruled anything out yet but right now we’re leaning towards the Alabama.”
Through a productive 8: 5-2-1 record, Nest has amassed earnings of $1,405,550. She is a full sister to Idola Grade 1 winner going ten furlongs, and a half to Lost Arka juvenile who won his debut by 5 1/2 lengths last month at Belmont.
Malathaat, winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks and the reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, finished second last out in the Shuvee (G2) on July 24 at Saratoga.
Pletcher added that no decision has been made yet regarding the Grade 1 winner American Revolutionwho is one of three Pletcher-trained entrants in Saturday’s $1 million Whitney (G1). The connections indicated that the son of Constitution could scratch out of the race depending on the weather.
“We won’t decide until tomorrow. We’ll just see what the weather does with the track conditions,” Pletcher said.