Take Charge Paula a commanding winner in Forward Gal

TakeChargePaula HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Peter Deutsch recently decided to increase his investment in Thoroughbreds, and the initial returns are promising. Deutsch was elated Saturday when his newly acquired Take Charge Paula ran off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the 38th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park.

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Making her first start since being privately purchased by Deutsch and turned over to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Take Charge Paula broke sharply under Paco Lopez to force all the pace in the seven-furlong Forward Gal. After putting away Heavenhasmynikki, she was easily clear of a belated run by Sultry when finishing in 1:23.47 over a fast track. The winner paid $7.40 as the slight favorite in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies.

“She’d had a couple of weeks with Kiaran and progressed really well,” said Deutsch, whose fortune emanates from the Connecticut-based Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “At some level I’m incredibly excited, and at some level I’m not surprised because she’s already shown what a classy filly she is.”

Deutsch, 55, said he has owned horses for about seven years, with his first stakes winner being Adirondack Summer in the 2011 Dania Beach at Gulfstream. This, however, was his first graded win as an owner.

McLaughlin said the Grade 2 Davona Dale, a one-mile race here March 3, is a logical next start for Take Charge Paula, a dark bay daughter of the young sire Take Charge Indy. Deutsch said the long-term goal is the Grade 1 Test in August.

“We’ll work backward from that,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what her evolution looks like.”

Easily the disappointment of the Forward Gal was Miss Mo Mentum, the 3-1 second choice who had good early position in midpack but finished a non-threatening sixth after having easily won her last two starts.

The $2 exacta (4-1) paid $38.40, the $1 trifecta (4-1-8) returned $117.60, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-1-8-3) was worth $63.50.