Willis D. Horton’s Will Take Charge caught stablemate Oxbow in deep stretch
“I felt pretty good 100 yards from the wire,” the four-time Kentucky
Take Charge Indy garnered 50 points in the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby”
“Wayne told me how well he’s been doing and he had him tuned up today,”
winning rider Jon Court said. “The race was executed to plan. It worked out
perfectly. I was able to position him where we wanted. He was very professional
Court had ridden both Will Take Charge and Oxbow in their recent starts, but
Hall of Famer Mike Smith flew in to ride Oxbow on Saturday.
Title Contender and Super Ninety Nine both showed speed from the start, with
the former showing the way on a short lead through solid opening fractions of
:23 1/5 and :47. Oxbow and Delhomme were stalking the early pace, a couple lengths back of Super Ninety Nine, and Will Take Charge settled in midpack,
racing about five lengths behind the pacesetter as the field made its way down
Super Ninety Nine seized the lead on the far turn as Title Contender gave
way, but Oxbow advanced to equal terms on the outside and stuck a head in front
after six furlongs in 1:12 1/5. Will Take Charge was caught briefly in traffic
before starting to make progress while cornering four wide and was set down in
earnest by Court as they turned for home. He closed determinedly in the final
furlong to nail the runner-up, stopping the teletimer in 1:45.
Off as the 28-1 eighth choice, the winner paid $58, $16.20 and $9.80.
Oxbow, the 7-2 second choice in the 11-horse field, held second by two lengths
Will Take Charge broke his maiden second-time out, taking a seven-furlong
The chestnut colt opened his three-year-old campaign with a game win in the
aforementioned Smarty Jones, reversing the Springboard Mile outcome when edging
Texas Bling by a neck, but did not favor a sloppy track in the Grade 3 Southwest
on February 18, finishing a well-beaten sixth.
“Will Take Charge is a fair weather horse,” Lukas said of the Southwest. “He
didn’t feel like running in the slop last time.”
With Saturday’s $360,000 payday, Will Take Charge has now earned $545,371
from a 7-3-1-0 record.
Bred by Eaton in Kentucky, Will Take Charge was a $425,000 Keeneland
September yearling. He is the second stakes winner produced by the $2.4
million-earner Take Charge Lady, a Dehere mare that won nine stakes, including
two wins in the Grade 1 Spinster as well as the Grade 1 Ashland. Her many
placings at the top level included a narrow loss to Hall of Famer Azeri in the
2003 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn.
Take Charge Lady’s first stakes winner was Take Charge Indy, a son of A.P.
Indy, who captured the Grade 1 Florida Derby last year and exits a third in the
Grade 1 Donn Handicap for trainer Pat Byrne.
Take Charge Lady is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed stakes winners
Commendation and Eventail. The latter is the dam of Grade 2 victor Straight
Story. Also hailing from this family is prominent turf sprinter and Breeders’
Cup winner Chamberlain Bridge.
Will Take Charge is expected to make his final Kentucky Derby prep in the the
Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 13.
“The hill’s going to get a little steeper now,” Lukas said of the future.