Take Charge Indy , second choice in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) March 10, has been withdrawn from the race, trainer Pat Byrne confirmed.
Byrne told Daily Racing Form March 9 that he'll keep the regally bred Take Charge Indy at the Palm Meadows Training Center and await the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) March 31.
“We just decided we’re not going to go up to Tampa to come out of the 10 hole over a track he’s never been on before,” Byrne told DRF. “We’ll just keep him here and shoot for the Florida Derby now. We already know he likes that racetrack at Gulfstream, and he’s been training well at Palm Meadows.
"I guess it means we’ll be putting all our balls in one basket, having only one more Derby prep instead of two, but the Florida Derby is a $1 million race, so even if he finishes second or third we should have enough earnings to make the Derby.”
Chuck and Maribeth Sandford's Take Charge Indy was the 3-1 on the morning line at Tampa Bay Downs, behind only 5-2 Spring Hill Farm. The A.P. Indy colt out of the multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady (Dehere) was second to El Padrino in his only start of the year, an allowance race at Gulfstream Jan. 29. He ran fifth in last fall's Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and owns a 1-2-0 mark in five starts. Clavin Borel was to ride.
The defection reduces the field to 11 for the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby.