A long year for Willis D. Horton's Will Take Charge continued to improve on Saturday when the D. Wayne Lukas-trained son of Unbridled's Song rolled to a 2 ¼-length victory over Moreno in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (GI) at Parx Racing.
Will Take Charge, who failed to finish in the top four in any of the Triple Crown races, notched his second consecutive victory in a $1 million race. He had edged Moreno in his previous start in Saratoga's Travers, but disposed of that rival more easily this time around.
The victory put Will Take Charge in serious contention for the Eclipse Award that will go the top 3-year-old in the U.S. and he climbed up the list of major contenders for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (GI) at Santa Anita on Saturday, Nov.2. Lukas believes his chestnut colt will be a serious player when he faces older rivals in the Classic.
“He'll be tough on ‘em,” Lukas said. “He's getting better and he's got five or six weeks more to mature some more. He's put on about 25 pounds since the Travers, so he's filling out and really getting stronger.”
Will Take Charge now has five victories in 12 races, and his four wins in nine 2013 starts that also include stakes victories at Oaklawn Park in the Grade II Rebel on March 13 and the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 21. Although he had no success during the Triple Crown run in the spring, Will Take Charge encountered major traffic problems at the head of the stretch in the Kentucky Derby that could have cost him a placing on the first Saturday in May.
“One of the things that's significant is that he started running in January and he's run in every 3-year-old race in the country,” Lukas said. “Nobody else has. He's made every dance.”
Will Take Charge will train up to the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs and travel to Santa Anita the week before his year-end objective.
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