Chuck Sandford

Chuck Sandford

Courtesy of the family of Charles Sandford

Sandford, Owner of Take Charge Indy, Dies

Owner Chuck Sandford died Dec. 2

Owner Charles "Chuck" Sandford died at his home near Chicago Dec. 2 following a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Sandford and his wife, Maribeth, entered the Thoroughbred industry in 2010 under the stable name Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, LLC. The stable rose to prominence in 2012 while campaigning that year's Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Take Charge Indy. After being injured in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the son of A. P. Indy came back and won the Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs before retiring to WinStar Farm.

"Every day working for him was wonderful. ... He just enjoyed the game," said Take Charge Indy's trainer, Patrick Byrne, who was a long-time friend of Sandford. 

"The most memorable moment (with Sandford) was winning the Florida Derby and the Alysheba. We were fortunate enough to have a horse like Take Charge Indy," Byrne said. "I remember getting in the car going to Gulfstream Park (before the Florida Derby) and we were going, 'I just hope we get a piece of this race.' And then he ends up winning it. It was a great thrill, obviously.

"He was just a wonderful man and so generous. You can't find a guy with a bigger heart."

Sandford enjoyed all aspects of the racing industry. He was an active participant in numerous auctions, including the Keeneland September yearling sale and Fasig-Tipton's Florida sale.

Before campaigning horses, Sandford helped steer Bag Makers Inc. through nearly three decades of rapid growth and success. Bag Makers is a Counselor top 40 supplier of non-woven paper and plastic bags to the promotional products industry.

Along with his wife, Sandford is survived by his two children, Paul Fleming and Jennifer Madai, along with grandchildren Anna Marie Bean, Amanda Madai, and Aubrie Thompson.