Two-Year-Old Champion Filly Take Charge Brandi or Lady Eli?
Two-Year-Old Champion Filly Take Charge Brandi or Lady Eli?: The charge for an Eclipse Award has yet to cease and after a weekend of races, some are saying the two-year-old filly division was decided with a win in the Delta Downs Princess for Take Charge Brandi. D. Wayne Lukas has already had four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame, so when he makes a push with a horse for an Eclipse Award, he should be taken seriously, but, how serious is his push with Take Charge Brandi?
Take Charge Brandi was off to an impressive start in her career, breaking her maiden on first asking. From there, she went on to place in her second start in the G3 Schuylerville Stakes. Since then, she has finished off the board in three straight graded stakes events, until her wire-to-wire win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She followed that shocking win with a decisive win in the G3 Delta Downs Princess on November 22.
Attempting to strengthen her resume, Take Charge Brandi and Lukas have made a push for year end honors, but is a “heavily” raced filly with only three wins in seven starts deserving enough to win the Eclipse Award?
What about undefeated turf filly, Lady Eli? The lightly raced juvenile by Divine Park has done nothing wrong and won a much more loaded Breeders’ Cup race. Beginning her career at Saratoga, she went on to win her graded stakes debut in the G3 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont. After the display of talent, the Chad Brown trainee was aimed for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, which was stacked with both U.S. and European talent.
Lady Eli closely resembles the European running style. She stays covered up until the straight, and when out in the clear, her turn of foot is more than devastating. Considerably deadly to her competition’s chances, Lady Eli makes graded stakes winners look like allowance horses.
When it comes to consistency, talent, and excellence, the Eclipse Awards are supposed to award to horse most closely related to the characteristics. Lady Eli is the most consistent juvenile filly in training, exuding talent and beaming with excellence. Take Charge Brandi is just reemerging onto the scene, after a trio of devastating losses in top competition. The juvenile fillies dirt division is weak this season, with no one filly dominating, but the turf division is loaded, where Lady Eli excels and exceeds.
When the world of horse racing can vote Horse of the Year as a turf miler (i.e., Wise Dan) for the top honors of all honors, the Eclipse Awards have come a long way. However, dirt runners still reign supreme, and with the current surge of Take Charge Brandi (in questionable competition) is likely to stick in minds more than the three consecutive wins in high competition.
Lady Eli is more deserving for an Eclipse Award, however, in a country where dirt reigns supreme, the dirt filly Take Charge Brandi is likely to get more of the popular vote. Whoever gets the Eclipse Award, hopefully they have rightfully earned it. Lady Eli sure has.