04/09/2013 10:10AM

Kentucky Derby: Will Take Charge will train up to the race

Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
Will Take Charge, with blinkers, defeats stablemate Oxbow in his last race, the March 16 Rebel Stakes.

Will Take Charge, who won the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in his last start March 16, will train up to the Kentucky Derby, his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, said on Tuesday. Lukas had been debating training up to the May 4 race or running in the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland on Saturday.

“We’re going to train up to the Derby,” Lukas said. “I just love the way he’s doing and the way he’s maturing. He’s really, really in the zone to me. I love what I see. He’s put on weight and his energy level’s really increased and I like that. I would just like to go in there fresh.”

Will Take Charge has 60 points on the new system governing preference into the Kentucky Derby, enough to secure a spot in the gate if the race is oversubscribed. Will Take Charge ranks seventh on the points leaderboard for the Kentucky Derby.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Lukas said plans are to work Will Take Charge on Friday, possibly a mile. The horse is based at Oaklawn and is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on April 14, he said. Will Take Charge will likely have a total of three works up to the Kentucky Derby.

“He’ll have a regular work pattern and it will be pretty much predictable,” Lukas said.

Lukas said the decision to train up to the Kentucky Derby was finalized Monday after he talked with owner Willis Horton.