09/21/2013 6:52PM

Pennsylvania Derby: Will Take Charge finishes strong; Breeders' Cup Classic next

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Barbara D. Livingston
Will Take Charge, with Luis Saez up, wins the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby by 2 1/4 lengths.

BENSALEM, Pa. – The much ballyhooed rematch between Travers 1-2 finishers Will Take Charge and Moreno turned into a one-sided affair Saturday at Parx Racing as Will Take Charge rallied along the inside under Luis Saez and drew off to a decisive 2 1/4-length victory over Moreno in the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

Moreno, who was unable to secure an easy lead like he did in the Travers, held second by a neck over Battier. He was followed in the order of finish by Transparent, Fury Kapcori, Romansh, Speak Logistics, and Java’s War.

Will Take Charge added the Pennsylvania Derby to victories in the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 2 Rebel and listed Smarty Jones. Despite three double-digit-length defeats in the Triple Crown series, trainer D. Wayne Lukas believes Will Take Charge is in the thick of the race for 3-year-old divisional honors heading into the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

“I’m not blown away here to think that we’re going to overwhelm anything, but I do think we’re very much in the picture, and it might get down to head-to-head competition,” Lukas said.

The Pennsylvania Derby was the first head-to-head meeting between Will Take Charge and Moreno since Will Take Charge nipped Moreno by a nose in the Travers at Saratoga.

A week after the race, the connections of Moreno – trainer Eric Guillot and owner Michael Moreno – filed a formal complaint with the New York State Gaming Commission, alleging that Saez used an electrical device, known as a battery, on Will Take Charge during the running of the race. The accusations are still being investigated by the commission with assistance from the New York State Police.

Lukas said he never gave much thought to the accusations, but realized they created a bit of a firestorm.

“When you make irresponsible comments like that, they’re interpreted a gillion ways,” Lukas said. “The facts are there’s nothing there, and time will show that. New York is eventually going to get it done – they do everything quite slowly. I put it aside right away.”

Neither Guillot nor Moreno were at Parx on Saturday.

Lukas has been focused on getting Will Take Charge to improve, and the son of Unbridled’s Song definitely polished off the Pennsylvania Derby most impressively.

Breaking a little awkwardly from the outside post, Will Take Charge settled into fifth position while Moreno, who broke a step slow, fought for the early lead with Fury Kapcori, the two dueling through a half-mile in 46.74 seconds.

Saez advanced Will Take Charge three wide around the far turn, and though Lukas thought Saez would be better served by coming down the center of the track, Saez dove his horse to the rail, where he finished like a freight train to get the win.

Will Take Charge, owned by Willis Horton, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.28 and returned $6.60 as the favorite.

“Maturity is really starting to take a hold now,” Lukas said.” I think we’ve turned the corner on a big, gangly horse who is finding where his feet are. He’s getting that explosive kick we want to see. I’d be very surprised if the best isn’t in front of him.”

Before being whisked away by his agent to catch a flight to Charles Town, where he was to ride Saturday night, Saez simply said, “He ran so well, very good, I’m so happy.”

Jose Ortiz, the rider of Moreno, said his horse didn’t break well and he had to “push him to put him in front. We went really fast, I knew it was going to be tough. He kept trying hard, he was just waiting for the horses again. If he didn’t wait for the horses, maybe he could have won the race.”

Lukas said Will Take Charge was to ship home Sunday morning and would train at Churchill Downs before shipping to California five or six days before the Classic.

mikey More than 1 year ago
This bunch was a bad a field in a million dollar race.The time was slow.The 4th quater run in 26 this will not win a breeders cup race.WTC better keep beating the second rate fields.Save the plane fare to BC.Lukas will be there so he can get on tv and hang out with the young ladies.
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
Hey see you wise guys at the BC! Best of luck.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Better bring a search party for WTC.
Steve S More than 1 year ago
Yes, time means everything. You must win often, huh? NOT!
russell More than 1 year ago
you make it sound like its a bad thing.
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
Flat Out will put PM and Orb to bed Saturday! There so overrated its pathetic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should be the favorite. Shame he couldn't keep a straight course in the slop. Deserved to win that race. Race will be a good acid test for Orb and PM and will help set their odds in Classic.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Overrated??? You're calling Orb and PM overrated yet Flat Out is the one who can't win outside of Belmont...these horses are young but they're legit and they've proven it...and still getting better...get your facts straight buddy.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Overrated??? You're calling Orb and PM overrated when it's Flat Out the one who can't win outside of Belmont. Orb and PM are legit and they've proven it.
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
See you at SA bring lots of cash!
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
I sure will...just please make sure you place all yours on Flat Out in the Classic...and lots of it.
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
Just keep backing orb! A fool and his money soon will part!
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Ricky, Ricky...here's another tip for you, make sure you keep your money in your wallet after the Belmont meet...Flat Out ain't worth a penny elsewhere.
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
If Guillot loses his case with the alleged prod carried by Saez, he can kiss returning to NY goodbye. If I was the NYRA, I would find every reason not to give him stall space
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
BC Classic? Id think next year at 4?
not impressed More than 1 year ago
I smell a Tiznow overlook type of race for WTC. Can't overlook him...
Mark More than 1 year ago
Palace Malice is going to seal his eclipse this Saturday and put to bed all the orb hanger on ERS once and for all. Simple. Goodnight.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Flat Out is gonna be flat out tough to beat next Sat, but IMO both PM and Orb have a realistic shot to win...plain and simple though, I think 3yr old honors will be on the line in the JCGC for both horses...you know I got Orb.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
PM would need to win the BC Classic and Orb would have to fail to hit the board in the JCGC AND BC Classic to in order to take the Eclipse from Orb. Orb's beaten PM twice in three meetings. PM doesn't have enough behind him right now. If he wins Sat, then he'll be one race away from CH 3yoC. I like both colts, so I hope they both run to their talent and that the JCGC is a terrific race!
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Totally agree with you...at this point Palace Malice and Will Take Charge are gonna have to take the 3yr old eclipse honors from Orb, it's his to lose now.
richard cowles More than 1 year ago
Fret not,the new york state police are on everything.Be careful on the way back from lake george.Nice job Wayne
Wendy Parrish More than 1 year ago
I don't understand all the grousing about "no big names" showing up for $1m races....WTC is a class act...so were the others who did show up. Owners/trainers know what is out there...they go where thet want...anyway it is all good when it comes to my betting..
NeilNap More than 1 year ago
At 2:50...("Hello? Hey, I can't talk right now...I just finished giving a horrible race call and I have to annouce the results now. I'll call you later...hey, yeah I KNOW my voice is as annoying as Larry Colmus'....ok, call you later")
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
Its about time someone take charge of the 3yo division. It could well be Will Take Charge!
B More than 1 year ago
For him to be named the best 3 year old colt, it is going to take some spectacularly bad running by Orb & Palace Malice in the JCGC & he'll need to win the BC Classic as well.
Perl More than 1 year ago
If he wins the BCC, he is 3yo champion no matter what those horses do in the JCGC. But he has no chance in the BCC.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Will Take Charge, way to run big boy. I am sure your owners and trainer , grooms and hot walkers and very proud of you. You were the best looking coming to the paddolk on Travers Day by far and ran to your good looks. WTC , today , you are on top of your 3 yo division and you deserve to be. I wish you stay sound, happy and full of run like your last 2 races. its to bad that trainer of your rival accused your jockey of zapping you with that fake gizmo, you really shut him up this morning and I bet he didn't sleep last night because we al know what a fool he sounded like. I think it was he who after having his horse go 0 for 10 using that gizmo to get him to move. I mean , it had to get really frustrating going 0 for 10 with a nice horse. Good luck Mr Lucas with WTC and your whole racing stable, your boys and girls done good..............
Holybull More than 1 year ago
Great Post Billy!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Like that one Billy. Three way tie at top. But I am leaning in WTC direction. Until Orb proves my point Saturday.