04/12/2013 8:13AM

Kentucky Derby: Will Take Charge works mile at Oaklawn

Coady Photography
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.”

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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.