Champion filly Take Charge Brandi will miss her expected showdown with juvenile male champion American Pharoah in Saturday's Grade II, $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and be sidelined for 60 days after being diagnosed with a non-displaced chip in her right knee Tuesday.
Owner Willis Horton said D. Wayne Lukas contacted him Tuesday morning after the Hall of Fame trainer noticed Take Charge Brandi was "a little tender" after training Monday.
X-rays were taken and transmitted to Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.
Horton said the daughter of Giant's Causeway was slated to ship to Rood & Riddle on Wednesday where Dr. Bramlage will probably insert a pin into the injured knee. While the injury knocks Take Charge Brandi out for the spring, a return to racing by this summer is expected barring any further setbacks.
"Dr. Bramlage said she should come back 100 percent," Horton said when reached by phone from his home in Arkansas on Tuesday. "He said she'll need stall rest for 30 days, walk for 30 days and then she could go back into training.
"It's kind of like losing a member of the family, or getting a member of the family hurt," Horton added. "It's pretty devastating but that's the name of the game and we have to live with it and go on."
Take Charge Brandi was coming into the Rebel Stakes having won her season debut in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn on Jan. 31 by a head. Had she run in the Rebel Stakes, it would have marked the first meeting between the reigning champion 2-year-old male and 2-year-old female since the infamous, ill-fated match race between Foolish Pleasure and Ruffian in 1975.
"We're going to take a positive approach to this," Lukas said. "She's only going to be out 60 days."
Take Charge Brandi won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Grade III Delta Jackpot Princess and the Grade I Starlet Stakes in her final three starts of 2014 to cement year-end honors. She has won five of nine career starts with $1,680,126 in earnings and is out of the Seeking the Gold mare, Charming, who is a half-sister to champion Will Take Charge.
"I thought she had a big chance (in the Rebel)," Horton said. "This broke my heart that I won't get to see what I set out to do. She's been sound all the way through, never had any problem. But always some little something can happen in this business."