Will Take Charge reigns supreme in Pennsylvania Derby
|Will Take Charge will seek
to carry his blossoming form forward in the Breeders' Cup
Willis D. Horton's Will Take Charge continued to build upon his upset win in
the Travers Stakes, easily proving best in Saturday's $1 million
Pennsylvania Derby, and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt established himself
as a top contender for champion three-year-old honors in the process. Luis Saez
guided the improving son of Unbridled's Song, who completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49
1/5 on the fast Parx Racing track.
Will Take Charge left the starting gate as the 2-1 favorite among eight
rivals in the Grade 2 event and settled into a good trip outside of horses in
fifth, racing within five lengths of fractions in :23 1/5, :46 3/5 and 1:10 2/5.
Moreno, who was caught in the final strides when finishing a nose second in the
Travers, showed the way on a short lead with Fury Kapcori tracking in second.
Speak Logistics and Romansh were also up close to the early action.
Battier launched an eye-catching move into contention on the far turn as Will
Take Charge bided his time through the bend, but Saez suddenly found himself
with no where to go, behind a wall of horses entering the stretch. The jockey
adroitly navigated his mount to the inside for clear sailing and the response
Will Take Charge needed only a few strides to storm his way into lead,
reaching the eighth pole in 1:36 with a half-length advantage, and continued to
draw away for a 2 1/4-length decision.
The chestnut paid $6.60 to win after the impressive performance.
Moreno surrendered the lead initially to Battier, but the pacesetter
re-rallied late to edge that rival by a neck for second. Battier wound up 1 1/2
length better than fourth-placer Transparent. Fury Kapcori, Romansh, Speak
Logistics and Java's War completed the order of finish.
Will Take Charge broke his maiden in his second career start last fall and
after an unplaced finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, he concluded his
juvenile season with a runner-up in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. He
opened 2013 with a victory in the Smarty Jones in January but didn't fire when
making his next start over a sloppy track in the Grade 3 Southwest, checking in
There will be no controversy surrounding Will Take Charge's
convincing victory over Moreno in the Pennsylvania Derby
The well-bred colt rebounded with a 28-1 upset in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in
mid-March and then trained up to the Kentucky Derby. He launched a bid from off
the pace over the sloppy track at Churchill Downs but was stopped in midstretch
when a tiring Verrazano drifted out into his path, winding up eighth in the
first leg of the Triple Crown. Will Take Charge continued on along the trail but
was never a factor finishing seventh in the Preakness and 10th in the Belmont
After a well-deserved freshening, Will Take Charge returned to action with a
fast-closing second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 27, only a length back of
Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. He defeated that same rival, as well as
highly-regarded opponents Orb and Verrazano, in the August 24 Travers, earning
his first Grade 1 tally.
Moreno's trainer, Eric Guillot, accused Saez of using an illegal device during the Travers,
a charge vehemently denied by both Saez and Lukas, and the matter is
still being investigated, according to officials with the New York State Gaming
Will Take Charge will head into his next engagement, the $5 million Breeders'
Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 2, with plenty of momentum and the
Eclipse Award for champion three-year-old could be on the line in the 1 1/4-mile
Bred in Kentucky by Eaton, Will Take Charge hails from the multiple Grade
1-winning mare Take Charge Lady, a daughter of Dehere who earned more than $2.4
million. The 14-year-old has proven to be a rousing success as a broodmare as
Will Take Charge is a half-brother to Grade 1-winning millionaire Take Charge
Indy, hero of last year's Florida Derby and the Grade 2 Alysheba earlier this
season. Take Charge Lady is also responsible for an unnamed yearling filly by
Indian Charlie who recently sold for $2.2 million at the Keeneland September
sale and a 2013 filly by War Chant.
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