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Take Charge Paula Wins Forward Gal

Feb 3, 2018
Wins Third Consecutive Stakes, First Graded

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Take Charge Paula became a graded-stakes winner Saturday at Gulfstream Park when she ran away from seven others down the stretch to win the $200,000 Forward Gal (G3) by 3 ½ lengths over Sultry. My Miss Lilly checked in third.

The 38th running of the seven furlong Forward Gal was the third of five graded stakes for 3-year-olds worth $950,000 in purses on a 12-race program anchored by the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2), Gulfstream’s first step on the road to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 31.

Take Charge Paula, running for the first time for owner Peter Deutsch and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, entered the seven furlong Forward Gal off victories in Laurel’s Smart Halo and Gulfstream’s House Party for trainer Kelly Breen. The 3-year-old daughter of Take Charge Indy, ridden by Paco Lopez, covered the distance in 1:23.47. Take Charge Paula had finished second in Belmont Park’s Matron (G3) as a 2-year-old.

Take Charge Indy broke cleanly away from the gate before relinquishing the lead to Heavenhasmynikki, who was taken to the front along the rail by jockey Luis Saez. But after a :23.35 opening quarter, Take Charge Paula cruised by the pacesetter midway around the turn past a :46.67 half and then, after drifting a bit wide entering the stretch, drove away from her opponents.

Just prior to winning the Forward Gal, McLaughlin watched Godolphin Racing’s Avery Island, another runner from his barn, win the $250,000 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct. 

Past winners of the Forward Gal have included Open Mind, Cathryn Sophia, Forever Together, Gold Mover, Miss Oceana, Charon and Withallprobability.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin (Take Charge Paula): “[Trainer] Kelly [Breen] had won three stakes with her and someone mentioned that she was for sale. Peter [Deutsch] is new in our barn and he’s been looking for fillies that might later be broodmare prospects. It was a perfect case scenario. He said, ‘Sure, let’s try to get it done,’ and we bought her and here we are now, a graded-stakes winner.”

“I was a little nervous there for a minute when she was head and head; I didn’t know she was going to draw off. She leaned out a little bit and drifted a little bit but we’ve had some pretty good fillies do that in our past. At least she was still in front. Paco knows her and rode her well. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with her next.”

“It’s been a pretty good day, so far.”
Jockey Paco Lopez (Take Charge Paula): “I had a great trip and a great position. I know this filly really well and Kiaran told me she was a little nervous today, so just work with her. The track is a little fast, so I went outside and waited for the other horses. She’s a nice filly and ran great for Kiaran.” 

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