Monday, March 28, 2022

Cleopatras Charge overcame a 15-length deficit at the half-way point to win the $300,000 Sunland Park Oaks by three-quarters of a length Sunday at the New Mexico track.

The 3-year-old daughter of Will Take Charge was one of three winners and a stakes-placed runner for her sire on Sunday. She also earned 50 points for the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1), virtually guaranteeing herself a spot in the race, should her connections opt to take that route.

Cleopatras Charge had just a maiden win to her credit prior to Sunday but came away with the top prize with an incredible final half-mile. Jockey Jorge Carreno did not urge his filly at all until late on the backstretch, when she began to make up some ground on the final turn. Still far back at the top of the lane, she found her best stride in the final furlong and surged to the lead to best Ali Alley in a flying finish.

“She ran a real big race,” winning trainer Gary Cross said in an understatement. “I told Jorge to take back and let the speed go and she ran big.”

Cross said plans for Cleopatras Charge would be made after he talks to breeder and owner Samuel F. Henderson. The bay filly has now won 2 of 6 starts for earnings of $195,406.

Will Take Charge, who has been a top-five sire by crop year, is currently second on this year’s Fifth-Crop list with $1.3 million in progeny earnings and leads the list by both graded winners and black type winners.