Updated on 03/19/2013 10:03AM

Rebel Stakes: Lukas one-two as Will Take Charge runs down Oxbow

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Will Take Charge, outside with Jon Court aboard, gets up to nip his stablemate Oxbow in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Will Take Charge edged stablemate Oxbow by a head to give his Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, a one-two finish in the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

With the win, Will Take Charge earned 50 points to become the new points leader on the inaugural system that governs Kentucky Derby eligibility if the May 4 race is oversubscribed. Oxbow picked up 20 points, while Den’s Legacy, who finished two lengths back in third in the Rebel, earned 10 points, and fourth-place finisher Texas Bling, 5.

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

Super Ninety Nine, the 6-5 favorite off an 11-length win in last month’s Grade 3, $300,000 Southwest, finished fifth in the Rebel. 

Will Take Charge ($58) settled in fifth behind leader Title Contender, who took the field through fractions of 23.36 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.19 for the half-mile before being overtaken by Super Ninety Nine and then Oxbow through six furlongs in 1:12.39. Will Take Charge took up the chase in the stretch under jockey Jon Court, and forged past his stablemate to cover 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast in 1:45.18.

“I felt pretty good 100 yards from the wire,” said Lukas, who trains Will Take Charge for Arkansas resident Willis D. Horton and Oxbow for Calumet Farm.

“It’s so difficult to win these,” Lukas added. “We know that the competition is so tough. Anytime you get one, let alone run one-two, we’re very gracious and very humbled by it.”

Court was pleased with the trip he got in the Rebel.

“The race was executed to the plan,” he said. “It worked out perfectly. I was able to position him where we wanted. He was very professional today.”

Super Ninety Nine chased Title Contender in second to the final turn, moved to the lead, then floundered in the stretch, said his rider, Rafael Bejarano.

“I didn’t feel like the track helped my horse,” Bejarano said. “He didn’t feel comfortable on it.”

Will Take Charge was sent off at 28-1 after finishing sixth in the Southwest run on a sloppy surface. One start prior, he won the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn by a neck over Texas Bling.

“Will Take Charge, I think, is a fair weather horse and he said, ‘I’m not running in the rain,’ ” said Lukas. “He got a good track today.”

Will Take Charge now has a total of 60 points on the Kentucky Derby leader board, 10 more than Vyjack, Orb, Verrazano, and Hear the Ghost, who each has 50. Oxbow is next on the list, with 36.

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

Will Take Charge earned $380,000 for his win in the Rebel. He has now won 3 of 7 starts and $545,371.

The remaining order of finish in the Rebel was Carve in sixth, followed by Title Contender, Treasury Bill, Hardrock Eleven, Stormy Holiday, and Delhomme.

Rebel Day is one of the biggest programs of the year at Oaklawn, which had an ontrack crowd of 33,963. Handle on the 11-race card from all sources was $7,895,380. Both are meet-highs for Oaklawn.

The Rebel was the local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby, which will be run April 13.