Updated on 03/21/2013 10:23AM

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.