01/21/2013 7:52PM

Oaklawn: Will Take Charge digs in to take Smarty Jones by a neck

Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
With his Smarty Jones victory, Will Take Charge earned 10 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility if the May 4 classic is oversubscribed.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Jon Court won their second 3-year-old prep in two days on Monday, when Will Take Charge dug in to get past Texas Bling by a neck in the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park. On Saturday at Fair Grounds, the men teamed to win the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte with Oxbow.

“It was a big weekend,” said Court.

The Smarty Jones was Oaklawn’s first 3-year-old route stakes of the meet, and for his win Will Take Charge earned 10 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility if the May 4 classic is oversubscribed. Texas Bling picked up four points for second, while Always in a Tiz, the favorite who was a head back in third, earned two points, and fourth-place finisher, Stormy Holiday, one point.

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

Will Take Charge ($26.80) was hung five wide into the first turn of the Smarty Jones as Avare took the field through fractions of 23.11 seconds for the opening quarter and 46.65 for the half-mile, while pressed by Texas Bling. Will Take Charge stalked in third, then advanced three wide on the turn to join Texas Bling, who took over through six furlongs in 1:11.89. In the stretch, Will Take Charge dug in and edged Texas Bling in a photo, covering the mile on a track rated fast in 1:38.64. The race ended at the sixteenth pole, as with all one-mile races at Oaklawn.

“He showed me a lot of heart,” Lukas said. “He had a horrible trip into the first turn, but he got the job done. He’s a nice horse and we can build off of this. We’re feeling good about him.”

Lukas said he and owner Willis D. Horton will be discussing next-race plans for Will Take Charge.

Will Take Charge is a son of Unbridled’s Song and the multiple Grade 1-winning racemare Take Charge Lady. He is also a half-brother to last year’s Florida Derby winner, Take Charge Indy.

The order of finish in the Smarty Jones reversed the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park in December, when Texas Bling won the race over Will Take Charge, at 128-1.

The remaining order of finish in the Smarty Jones was Brown Almighty in fifth, followed by Officer Alex, Avare, Best of Birdstone, and King Henny.

Attendance at Oaklawn was 12,821.

Terry Dickens More than 1 year ago
can any one tell me why all the big time favorite lost beholder/brown almighty.this is bad and this week end if you bet shanghighbobby u will lose because hes going to throw the race,trainer already gave instructions
noocheroni More than 1 year ago
Oxbow & others: It's the year of the "LUKAS"
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
DWL ...it may well be that he is back.
Rob Tuel More than 1 year ago
Have liked this horse since his debut at Saratoga. First time he has fired big races back-to-back, and looks to build off of this nice win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr Lucas...another fine training job. A lousy trip and yet a big run/finish. Great job, Great horse. Reminds me of Mr Lucas's horse, Hightail in the Breeder's Cup. He had that horse fit for a strong finish too. One to watch here....RD BTR
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
How soon we forget, ever heard of I'll Have Another, stabled right there on the West coast last year. Where ya live has nothing to do with anything, Mine That Bird came out of New Mexico, must I go on?
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
Roger isn't talking about last year he's talking about this years west coast horses and he hit it right on the nail nth is years west coast horses aren't that good babe west coast had the better crop of 3 year olds and this year a different horse has won all their preps. Only serious horse out west is Goldencents and he still has a lot to prove but we will see how the west coast will shape up in the next couple months
Mark More than 1 year ago
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
Mine That Bird was juvenile champion in Canada.
ron More than 1 year ago
hey were wicked out here in n.m. you better keep an eye on us at all times.
Roger More than 1 year ago
Avare was one of the better west coast horses I had seen thus far. It just goes to show that they don't have anything on the west coast that can make a serious bid for the derby this year. The west coast trainers better keep their horses at home so they can run against their own kind if they want a chance to get in.
mdavis8357 More than 1 year ago
If Avare was one of the best you have seen I would recommend an optometrist visit or at TV adjustment.
ddwage62 More than 1 year ago
your bananas
Deaton More than 1 year ago
Avare ran just like we suspected he would on here couple weeks ago..