01/04/2014 10:04AM

Oaklawn Park: Will Take Charge up to five furlongs in his works

Barbara D. Livingston
Will Take Charge's participation in the Donn Handicap could hinge on travel plans.

Will Take Charge, the front-runner for champion 3-year-old of 2013, remains in steady training at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., with the early-season races on his radar the Donn at Gulfstream and the Santa Anita Handicap, according to his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

Will Take Charge has logged three works at Oaklawn since arriving at the track the latter half of December. His most recent move was a five-furlong breeze in 1:03.20 on Thursday. His previous breezes were half-mile works, on Dec. 18 and Dec. 26.

“He’s going really well, in a nice pattern, not anything serious,” Lukas said. “He’s maturing, putting on weight, and looks good.”

Will Take Charge’s campaign plans are still being determined, but Lukas said travel arrangements will factor into a decision on the Donn, a Grade 1, $500,000 handicap at a mile and an eighth on Feb. 8.

“Getting to Florida and back is not easy this time of year,” he said.

But, Lukas added, the race remains “on the radar.”

Also on the radar, he said, is the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap, which will be run at a mile and a quarter on March 8.

Will Take Charge ran at Santa Anita in November, missing by a nose in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. In his most recent out, he won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29.

Will Take Charge also won last year’s Travers, Pennsylvania Derby, and Rebel Stakes. His body of work last year has made him a chief contender for an Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old, and also placed him in the conversation for Horse of the Year. The championship winners will be announced at a ceremony at Gulfstream on Jan. 18. 

Will Take Charge races for Willis D. Horton of Marshall, Ark., and Three Chimneys Farm, which announced late last month it had purchased a 50 percent interest in the son of Unbridled’s Song. The horse will retire to the Midway, Ky., farm, following his racing career. Horton will retain 50 percent interest in the horse when he enters stud. Will Take Charge is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Take Charge Lady.

Will Take Charge was also based at Oaklawn last winter, where in addition to the Rebel he won the $150,000 Smarty Jones. Overall, he has won 6 of 15 starts and $3,055,148.

Oaklawn will begin its 2014 season on Friday.

akhiym james More than 1 year ago
I hope he does take the Donn, Big Cap route because this is the exact campaign I stated he should take a while back. This is a very sound horse that loves to run and the sport needs a horse to take an aggressive campaign to get fans interested. This horse has a chance to do that. Since he's invading Cali he will see GOD and give him competition for those top races and should be able to make noise in the top races back east. Go Alysheba, Stephen Foster, Whitney, Gold Cup, Classic, Clark. That's only eight races which is less than what he had for his three year old season. Would be a great campaign
Walter More than 1 year ago
DWL, Please take him to SA. They could use some quality runners there.
Scott Merideth More than 1 year ago
It sounds like that's a very real possibility, but I wonder if anyone will be highly critical of his competition if he should win the Big Cap? LOL! I'm a West Coast guy here in Washington, but I have to admit that East Coast racing has been deeper and more talented the last several years. When was the last time we had a great field for the Big Cap?! Even with the Breeder's Cup being at Santa Anita most of the talent didn't bother coming West to have a prep over the track. Some people actually criticized MMM's connections for getting a "cheap" win against lesser competition in the Awesome Again. The funny thing is they weren't wrong about the competition, but the connections seemed to have known what they were doing.
Walter More than 1 year ago
The Dubai World Cup hurt the Big Cap over the years. It's been many years since there was a great field for the Big Cap, cannot even remember the last time. I'd like to see WTC come. I think Game on Dude is still in training. If those two run, you can prob expect Hollendorfer to have something in there too. Could be a nice race.
Greg More than 1 year ago
Go to equibase for info!!
Scott Merideth More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty excited for Will Take Charge's year this year. We could be in store for a true HOTY type campaign from this guy. It took half the year for him to truly find his stride, but once he did, he proved he was somebody to watch every race. He has a style that seems to work on any track (mid pack closer) and his connections seem to have no fear. Fingers crossed, but I think we might have a true superstar here!
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
If he can return to his past form...The moons the limit...
Greg More than 1 year ago
How r all u yanks doing with the new pay to read crap here . Iam shocked u suckers r paying for this. U must be cause there raising the price per wk. spoiled stupid wanna b horse players!!!
Scott Merideth More than 1 year ago
I've yet to pay, but have been considering it. Is there a better site that is free Greg?
Greg More than 1 year ago
Lefty More than 1 year ago
Actually, Ray Paulick's site is good, if not very good. However, he yelled at me for not digging Groupie Doll's mojo and for my thoughts on the "greedy" new owners for running that last race of hers. It was the strangest thing. Truth be told a lot of horsemen//women jumped all over me too here at the DRF. Anyway, since you asked, I answered.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Bloodhorse.com, Brisnet.com, Paulickreport.com
Russell More than 1 year ago
The funny thing is, they have taken all the articles I never read, and made them pay-to-read. I peruse DRF news every day, and since they started charging there has only been one DRF+ article I had any interest in reading, and I found that information at Bloodhorse.
Scott Merideth More than 1 year ago
That's funny, because I've pretty much had the same experience. I will say that during the buildup to the Derby the last couple of years, I've enjoyed the Clocker's Report. Two horses in the last 3 years for me came off of it: Animal Kingdom & Golden Soul. Without that report, I don't know if I would have included Golden Soul in my Exacta Wheel (although, it was with Orb on top of 10 other horses, so it's hard to say). Animal Kingdom looked exceptional in the parade, so the Clocker's Report just had me looking a little closer than normal.
Lefty More than 1 year ago
five-furlong breeze in 1:03.20 well that's a bit slow, but Will Take Charge certainly was and by far the most iomproved horse in the Country! Also, you can say probably the sturdiest horse, he just kept on running! Maybe, Lukas should be a bit conservative in where he runs, I honestly don't think there was a horse that ran as much as Will Take Charge did. Maybe, some rock bottom claimers can get away with the kind of schedule as WTC, but sometimes rest and relaxation s good!
RIP Grammar More than 1 year ago
1:03 is just fine for a work a month out from a race. It's called a "maintenance work." Horses don't have to black letter every time they work.
Scott Merideth More than 1 year ago
Lefty, this was just a breeze and if you look through WTC's other works at this distance, you'll notice he's not a blazer even when the screws are fully tightened. I would expect a 1:01 a week prior to his first start. They're just keeping the rust away right now.
therealdubwhite More than 1 year ago
Plus its Oaklawn park. A very deep surface kinda like the Oklahoma at Saratoga.