Marengo residents Chuck and Maribeth Sandford have come to count Take Charge Indy as a member of their family. After Take Charge Indy finished 19th at last year’s Kentucky Derby, the 4-year-old colt will run at Churchill Downs in Friday’s Alysheba Stakes as part of the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Take Charge Indy is coming off a second-place finish at the Skip Away Stakes last month in Florida following offseason surgery to repair a foot injury. The Sandfords sold the horse’s breeding rights in the offseason, making this year Take Charge Indy’s final season of racing.
Chuck Sandford: Running in the Kentucky Derby is a one-time feeling and we tried to take it all in. We’d get up in the morning, go the barn and watch our horses. In the evening, we tried to do as many things we had time for and we had time for. It was just a great time. But we’re stabled down here eight months out of the year and so [Churchill Downs] is a place literally that my horses call home. Derby Week is such a special week and we got to go through it last year and so we understand it a little bit better. So to get the chance to run a couple of horses on Oaks Day is really exciting.
Maribeth Sandford: I’m from Louisville so I went to Derbys, but there’s no feeling like participating in and being part of the Derby. The festivities of being in the Derby is so much different than just watching the Derby, which is still a wonderful, wonderful experience. There’s just an air about it. When they play ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ people who haven’t even been there before have tears in their eyes and there’s hardly any way to explain the feeling. I would go to the Derby, but it wasn’t like I was going to the barn. I would just go to the race and some of the festivities. But now, Chuck and our daughter walk over to the barn with the horse and it’s just become a family event. It’s just so traditional. But it’s so overwhelming. It’s just so different than just going to the Derby.
Chuck Sandford: [Being part of the sport] is just a dream come true and Take Charge Indy is just a really nice colt. He’s fun to be around.
Maribeth Sandford: The first thing we do is we go over to the barn [when we arrive for a race] and say hello to Indy and give him his mints. He’s just become part of the family and he knows who we are and he knows who Chuck is when he comes with his peppermints to feed him and give him treats. There are certain animals that just feel like pets, but others that feel like they’re part of the family. [Take Charge Indy] is just very alert and he knows what is going on. He’s just a very special horse.
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