Take Charge Paula Puts Streak to Test in Forward Gal
Jan 31, 2018
Multiple Stakes Winner Debuts for New Connections Off Two Straight Wins
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Multiple stakes winner Take Charge Paula will put her two-race win streak to the test as she returns to graded company in the first start for her new connections in Saturday’s $200,000 Forward Gal (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 38th running of the seven-furlong Forward Gal for fillies is one of five graded stakes for 3-year-olds worth $950,000 in purses being served up on a 12-race program highlighted by the 29th renewal of the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2).
Also on the card are the $200,000 Swale (G2) at seven furlongs and the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) for males and $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) for females, both contested at one mile on the turf.
Take Charge Paula, a dark bay or brown daughter of 2012 Florida Derby (G1) winner Take Charge Indy, was purchased privately by Peter Deutsch following her determined half-length triumph in the six-furlong House Party over a sloppy track Dec. 9 at Gulfstream.
“We’re still getting to know her but she’s been lovely to have around and has done everything right,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “She’s training very well. It’s not going to be easy, but graded stakes aren’t’ supposed to be easy. We’re looking forward to the race and running her for us for the first time.”
The House Party was the fourth win from six starts at 2 for Take Charge Paula, three of them in stakes, including the six-furlong Smart Halo Nov. 11 at Laurel Park and the 5 ½-furlong White Clay Creek Aug. 9 at Delaware Park in her second lifetime start for previous trainer Kelly Breen, McLaughlin’s neighbor at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
Take Charge Paula has previous graded experience, finishing off the board in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas (G2) and second by 2 ¼ lengths in the six-furlong Matron (G3) last fall. Paco Lopez, aboard for each of her last three starts, gets the return call.
“She actually was just about 50 yards from us on the backstretch at Palm Meadows,” McLaughlin said. “She’s a multiple stakes winner, so we don’t really need to improve anything. We just hope to keep her the same. Kelly has done a great job and we hope that we can keep winning stakes with her and do as well with her as he has.”
Courtlandt Farms’ My Miss Lilly will be making the big jump to a graded stakes in just her second start, having captured her debut Dec. 23 over a wet Aqueduct main track in impressive fashion for trainer Mark Hennig.
Jockey Javier Castellano won by 2 ½ lengths while in hand on My Miss Lilly, a daughter of prominent sire Tapit who will get the Hall of Fame rider back from far outside Post 8.
“She’s a nice filly,” Hennig said. “She ran in the mud at Aqueduct and didn’t get away great that day but kind of rushed up and was right there after one call. Javier had a lot of confidence in her and he will ride her back so he’s got confidence in her going forward. She’s stepping up in class, obviously, but she’s doing very well.”
My Miss Lilly has gotten familiar with Gulfstream with three breezes this month over the main track in preparation for the Forward Gal, a race Hennig won in 2001 with millionaire mare Gold Mover.
“She’s got some spring in her step. She’s going to put the jockey up close but she’s always willing to rate in the morning and do everything you ask her to do. She just happened to be quicker than those that day,” Hennig said. “I think she’ll love more ground. She’s a big, leggy filly.”
Sharing topweight with Take Charge Paula at 120 pounds are Gary Barber’s Miss Mo Mentum and Joseph Sutton’s Sultry. Miss Mo Mentum, trained by Mark Casse, enters on a two-race win streak including an 8 ¾-length romp in the one-mile Hut Hut Dec. 9 at Gulfstream, while Sultry won the Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes last fall for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Also entered are Morning Destiny and Foxtrot Sally, 2-3, respectively, in the Glitter Woman Jan. 6 at Gulfstream; Violet Times, a four-length maiden winner at Gulfstream Dec. 24; and Heavenhasmynikki, unbeaten in two starts for owner Ron Paolucci.