04/12/2013 9:13AM

Kentucky Derby: Will Take Charge works mile at Oaklawn

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Will Take Charge works a mile at Oaklawn on Friday morning.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Will Take Charge put in some prep work for the Kentucky Derby early Friday morning at Oaklawn Park, where he worked a mile in 1:40.80. He is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Sunday, according to his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

Will Take Charge won the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel at Oaklawn in his last start March 16, and earlier this week his connections made the decision to train him up to the Kentucky Derby. The other option had been a start in the Blue Grass at Keeneland.

“When you work three weeks out on a horse that’s coming off a layoff, by working a mile it lets me evaluate where I am,” Lukas said. “It gives me a barometer of where I am with him in his training and at this point I love where I am in his training.”

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

Will Take Charge came onto the track as soon as it opened Friday, and loosened up to the quarter pole under regular exercise rider Rudy Quevedo. He went into his work at the sixteenth pole, with Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton carrying him through an opening eighth of a mile in 11.80 seconds, a first quarter in 23.20, three furlongs in 35.20 and the first half-mile in 47.60.

Will Take Charge was joined for the final part of his work by a stablemate to his inside, going six furlongs in 1:13.20 and seven furlongs in 1:26.40.

"I wanted him to be a little bit more focused in the stretch," Lukas said.

Will Take Charge, who races for Willis Horton, also won the $150,000 Smarty Jones this meet at Oaklawn. Jon Court was aboard for both wins on the horse, who is a son of the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Take Charge Lady.

Richard More than 1 year ago
Well, I agree with the comments, but at least 7 0f 11 horses in HIS barn, unlike Baffert's, didn't die of "HEART FAILURE" while TRANING this year. I have been on the backside for twenty years, including in Europe, and have never seen such a wild statistic. I may have witnessed 3 "heart attacks, at most, two while "racing", not training. Cocaine seems a mild "performance enhancer" compared to whatever Baffert is using.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
is this the sam lukas who had 30+ positive tests for cocaine and had them all thrown out because he had a good lawyer? claimed that because 1 lab did all the tests, the tests must be wrong. since then all samples are split and sent to 2 labs. is this the lukas who went from 25% to 10% after he was caught? shouldn't there be an asterisk beside his name in the hall of shame. just like mark maguire? this game was fixed a long time ago, nothing has changed.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Just what you want to see in a one mile work. Quick early and continually get slower as the work goes. "I wanted him to be more focused in the stretch" Lukas said. Perfect.
Kevin Potts More than 1 year ago
I really like Jon Court but it seems he is the Rodney Dangerfield of jockeys. I would love to see him driving down the stretch to a victory May the 4th.
dermot More than 1 year ago
first half in 47.60,and second half in 53.20,now thats a bad work.Reads like he ran off with rider basically,but i'm sure connections will have their own spin.Not impressed.
John Roselli More than 1 year ago
I'm thinking they wanted the work to have this shape - an imitation of the shape of the Derby itself. Faster early, slower but with horses to fight late. Just somewhat slower, shorter, and less crowded - a good dress rehearsal for what he'll have to do. D. Wayne is the past master of it.
mrm More than 1 year ago
As much as I like and respect DWL I think you are giving him to much credit for planning the work to simulate a faster early, slower late, derby. It looks like he went to fast early. A hall of fame trainer once told me a story about a blown workout by a top horse at that time. After the work someone from the press asked him about the work for which he replied " Perfect, just what I was looking for".
ChristinaA More than 1 year ago
I agree, dermot. I would have been more pleased if the halves were the other way around.