Updated on 03/21/2013 11:23AM

Oaklawn: Rebel one-two finishers target Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby

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D. Wayne Lukas stablemates Will Take Charge (left) and Oxbow each earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 in the Rebel Stakes.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Will Take Charge and Oxbow were separated by inches Saturday in the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel at Oaklawn, but the horses are now expected to go in different directions for their final Kentucky Derby preps. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said on Sunday that Will Take Charge is being considered for the Blue Grass, while Oxbow could go in the Arkansas Derby.

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

Will Take Charge now sits atop the points leader board for Kentucky Derby eligibility after winning his second 3-year-old prep of the Oaklawn meet in the Rebel. Will Take Charge took the $150,000 Smarty Jones in January, which was worth 10 points, then added 50 to his total for the Rebel. Oxbow, meanwhile, has 36 points and is sitting sixth on the list put out by Churchill Downs.

“I need to get them separated a little bit,” Lukas said Sunday. “I might take Will Take Charge to the Blue Grass. He ran so well when he broke his maiden [at Keeneland]. And Oxbow could fall into this one here, the Arkansas Derby. But I’m not sure yet. I need to get together with the owners.”

The Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass, which is on Polytrack at Keeneland, and the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby, which is held at Oaklawn, will both be run April 13.

Texas Bling, the Rebel’s fourth-place finisher, will also be pointed for the Arkansas Derby, according to his trainer, Danele Durham.

Delhomme, the third-place finisher in the Grade 2 Remsen who was an uncharacteristic 11th in the Rebel, is off the Derby trail, trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday. 

Pletcher said arrangements are being made to have the horse physically evaluated at Rood and Riddle in Kentucky.                                       

"There's nothing obvious at this point,"  Pletcher said.

Will Take Charge and Oxbow each earned Beyer Speed Figures of 95 for their efforts in the Rebel. It was a career-high number for both horses. Will Take Charge settled in fifth early in the 1 1/16-mile race and rallied through the stretch to catch Oxbow on the wire. With the win, Will Take Charge recaptured his best form, one start after he finished sixth in the Grade 3, $300,000 Southwest run on a wet track at Oaklawn on Feb. 18.

“The Southwest, I have no explanation for that, other than the fact that I don’t think he had his heart in it that day in the mud,” Lukas said. “Yesterday, he came full circle again.”

Will Take Charge, who paid $58 to win the Rebel, is a son of Unbridled’s Song and the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Take Charge Lady. He races for Willis D. Horton.

Oxbow came into the Rebel off a close fourth-place finish in the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. Earlier in the New Orleans meet he had won the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte by 11 lengths, back in January. Lukas felt breaking from post 10 in the Rebel worked against Oxbow.

“You’ve got to use your horse a little bit,” Lukas said.

Oxbow races for Calumet Farm.

“He’s a solid horse,” Lukas said. “He brings his ‘A’ game every time.”

Lukas is a four-time winner of the Kentucky Derby whose stable is based at Oaklawn. He has a strong crop of 3-year-olds this year, and next week will have starters in two more Kentucky Derby preps. Lukas said Channel Isle is to run in the Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral at Turfway on Saturday, with Jon Court, aboard Will Take Charge in the Rebel, to ride. Titletown Five, meanwhile, will start in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday, and is to be ridden by Gary Stevens.







Senor Enrico More than 1 year ago
The Kentucky Derby should have its graded status revoked. According to The Graded Stake Committee, a race can not be graded if there are restrictions other than age or sex. It can be argued that The Kentucky Derby is putting a restriction that a horse run in one of its prep races in order to gain points and thus run in its race. Also The Graded Stakes Committee states that a race can not be graded if there is/are provisions that result in better horses being excluded. Say there is an champion filly like Rachael who preps in any of the Oaks races, she would be excluded. Genuine Risk would not have be allowed to run in the Derby according to this new point system. How about Arazi? After his unbelievable performance in the Juvenile, he may have been excluded. How about Cannerro II who won the derby but was a foreign horse. Sooner or later there will be a future champ who wants to run in the Derby and will be excluded because he/she doesnt conform to the point system. The Kentucky Derby should be open to all 3yos male or female running anywhere in the world. No exclusions. Selecting from an over subscribed race should be done via a graded stake point system that includes any race in the world, not your politically (IL Derby) selected few races!
Mark More than 1 year ago
In fact, the Illinois Derby was EXCLUDED because Churchill-owned Arlington Park has been trying to put Hawthorne out of business for years and create a monopoly in Chicago. The rest of your points are well taken, though. This is why racing needs a national commissioner just like every other sport. One company (CDI) shouldn't be making these rules for its own benefit.
Infinity More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is some good looking colt...I like the Giants Causeway on the mothers side to overcome the more than ready top.....figures already solid.....Tampa is tricky surface. Pretenders will be separated next 3 weeks. Oaklawn dirt helps at CD dirt.....slow times however and bodiemeister put up big numbers at Oaklawn......food for thought.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Will take Charge. His DAM is Take Charge Indy Correct ? Didn"t she give the mighty Azeri all she could handle in the Apple Blossom in was it 2003 -04 while Azeri was being conditioned by Laura De Souroux ? Take Charge Indy was trained by Ken McPeek right ? Take Charge Indy"s off spring Will Take Charge trained by D.Wayne who took over trainging of Azeri who he almost ruined in the BC Classic to HOY Ghostzapper right ? Where is Laura De Souroux anyway, did she leave racing ? Anyone ?
jttf More than 1 year ago
the number of derby starters with at least a 100 beyer prep race. in 2012 there were 4 starters with at least a 100 beyer. in 2010 and 2011 there were 2 starters. in 2009 there were 6. in 2008 (7). in 2007 (9). in 2006 (12). in 2005 (9). in 2004 (16). in 2003 (11). there was a big dropoff since 2009. that was when the new regulations were kicking in for steroids and shoe limitations. remember, lately we usually have our top beyer horse go down with injury. algorithms, uncle mo, eskendereya, and i want revenge did not run in the derby.
rhonda More than 1 year ago
JD I did some research on your BSF figure question because I thought they seemed kind of low. Turns out to be pretty average going into the Derby they are still developing. However the TB of today just don’t compare to the past it seems. I pasted a few horses BSF of the past interesting...Good question sparked some new HC views…There are some good articles in the DRF website .. Right to Left Prior Three back to prior to Derby then Derby BSF left … Barbaro 111 103 95 97 Giacomo 100 95 93 98 Funny Cide 109 110 99 87 War Emblem 114 112 98 85 Silver Charm 115 110 102 110 Grindstone 112 100 102 92 Thunder Gulch 108 101 101 105 Go For Gin 112 107 104 98 Sea Hero 105 91 91 66
rhonda More than 1 year ago
115+ Best in country 100-good allowance low grade stakes 90 typical 25k claimer race 80 typical 10k claimer 57 below bottom level claimer
rhonda More than 1 year ago
They need the points to be gureented a spot in the KY Derby!! Oxbow only has 36 points pluse they need to stay fit jumping up to a mile and a .25 The blue grass is a month away running them to the ground come on!! maybe you should know what your talking about before you insult hall of faime trainers.. have any of you trained KY Derby or stakes winners? lol Will take charge is my Deby pick reminds me a charismatic...
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
can anybody give me there opinion on the beyer speed figures for the winners of the preps so far. they have had 3 or 4 horses over 100 and everything else has been 80,s low 90,s a few mid 90,s. is that normal for these 3yo.s or kinda slow
jttf More than 1 year ago
these two horses will never win a grade 1 race. lukas mismanages his horses badly. last year, optimizer was up the track in his dirt derby prep races and even in the derby. optimizer is bred for the turf. but lukas still ran him in dirt races. on rebel day, one of his horses was scratched by the vets just before the race. oxbow and take charge ran many times on lasix at 2 and have never had a vacation in their schedule to mature. these two have reached their peak.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
I got oxbow in the first two derby future pools. Liking my chances
Chris More than 1 year ago
throw the tickets out.