Updated on 03/19/2013 10:03AM

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

Coady Photography
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.



Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
This horse will peak on Derby day. Pay attention to his work tab at CD the weeks before the race.
bill n More than 1 year ago
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Points are points, and this race was a good one. (Let's keep the upsets coming) The Derby will see at least a few well thought of horses lack the points to actually run.
Michael More than 1 year ago
I'm really interested in seeing vyjack and revolutionary compete against these other horses. Both of their last races were different but very impressive...Big money will abound at the Derby again this year on some big longshot.
Thomas More than 1 year ago
lucas still sucks - that snake oil saleman has broken down more horses than any trainer in history.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
except for pletcher.
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
LUKAS not Lucas, first time at the races?
michael More than 1 year ago
Baffert seems intent on these "Bodemeister" performances of trying to charge to the lead, or second and getting overtaken late. You win the KD with a closer, something he has forgotten. Lukas has not forgotten. Which is why mike Smith took so many seconds for Baffert last year. Wake up people. .
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Michael, You may be right but BB has earned the right to "forget" as you say. And he's probably forgotten more than we'll ever know. Let's keep watching. From where he came from, that dude has earned my respect. As a competitor, I'm not too proud to admit that. That's all I can say.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Baffert started out with quarter horses. He trains for speed. You don't have to check. If it says Baffert as the trainer, the horse is a speed horse. A closer is dependent on the pace. Smith may have lost to IHA, but that was a stalker. And in the Belmont, I think it was, he just made an error to open up the rail. That was jockey error.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
D. Wayne started out with the quarters as well.
Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
Its too bad there's no tomorrow after the Derby. I'm not one for mania but the second paragraph says it all for me. The most important thing it seems is running after the abstract points to get into the Kentucky Derby or, as it is better known today, the blue chip stallion market. Prestige and the annals of time are mere abstractions, hence distractions. Good horse races are watching good horses on the top of their game beat each other at equal weights which is what ALL Derbys are for. These horses could still run in the Florida Derby or the Santa Anita Derby but today, the way they train horses, you have to give a horse at least a month to get their metabolism back in shape from the drugs they use to train and race them on. Another abstraction ruining the sport of kings. Is the Kentucky Derby really worth that much more than the Santa Anita or Florida jackpots to a wealthy owners? "Points"....that's what the racketeers calls a percentage in their game. Are the new sportsmen and ladies today running a racket on the track? Look back and see how many horses became world sires by winning the Kentucky Derby. Then when a trainer or owner says they will skip the Kentucky Derby and point toward the Preakness or Belmont, then I'll see a nobleman or lady with supreme class who doesn't want to run a "Mine That Bird" for a one time trip to the winner's circle and garner a supposed immortal, legendary halo. I want to see the real muscle fighting it out and have no interest in seeing how many points or dollars an owner earns. I want my horse to beat their horse and I'll go anywhere they say at equal weights to witness a legendary horse race and not drool over a legendary media affair. God forbid if a trainer told the DRF, "Yeah, I think will skip the Derby because the best horses on top of their game won't be showing up. We're gonna wait to see who goes where and try to hook up with the best of them for some real sport" Dream on.......I think I'll boycott the Kentucky Derby and just check the DRF results Saturday evening the first Saturday in May. I don't want to see another Super Saver or Mine That Bird running a one-time race. So do we go on vacation after the Kentucky Derby? Why not? The media does along with the hyperbole. I'm most interested at the moment to see if Haer The Ghost can beat Flashback in the Santa Anita Derby. You can bet your sweet bippy Veranzzo won't be showing up to make it a super duper show. He's too busy having blood counts to see where he can run next. On second thought, maybe I'll hit the trout lakes early, it depends on the "ice out" though. I'll set up camp and welcome the media arrive on the first Sunday in May. Lord knows those hucksters will need a deserved break too. Besides, there's a fish I can't catch in one lake but this year I think I have enough points to hook 'em.
mrm More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing that if you owned the Kentucky Derby favorite you would pass, if in your opinion, the best horses were not showing up.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I don't quite follow all your points, but as a racing enthusiast I get your main point- the racing world has fallen right in with the general population in making the Kentucky Derby the end-all of the sport, a singular focus worthy of about half the sport's yearly focus. Is the Kentucky Derby an important race? Absolutely. Because of its popularity among the general public, it is the sport's biggest race. However, it's not the most important race nor is it the best race. Every late October or early November, we who truly love the sport are reminded that the Breeder's Cup is by far our most important event, and the Classic our best race. The field for the Classic, being open to older horses, is always better than the Derby field. But for 6 months from December to May, even true fans sometimes forget this and get caught up in the Derby hype. And I agree, races like the Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood, Blue Grass, and even prep-for-prep races like the Rebel are huge races in and of themselves, and are more than mere preps and certainly more than point-grabs. What I find particularly baffling is that most years we build up for the Derby, all 3 year old races being discussed in context of the Derby, but if the Derby winner is a horse like Mine That Bird, Giacomo, or even Super Saver, many can't move fast enough to downplay the importance of the Derby. It's almost like this big letdown, a feeling that we've waited 6 months and wasted all this time discussing a race, and THAT'S the winner? Even with I'll Have Another last year, if it wasn't for the Preakness validating his Derby, most folks outside of California probably viewed his Derby as yet another recent ugly Derby(featuring slow times, bunched fields, and low Beyers). Make up your minds and be consistent with the Derby; either the Derby is our greatest race, and we treat even longshot winners like Mine That Bird, Giacomo, and Super Saver as our greatest and most important horses, or we check ourselves just a bit in the lead-up to the Derby and recognize it for what it is, an important but overhyped restricted race for young 3 year olds featuring a field in which at least half want no part of running 10 furlongs at that point of their careers(with at least a quarter never being heard from again). Ultimately, I think the reason why even so many of us true fans get caught up in Derby mania is that it's directly tied to the search for the savior, the next Triple Crown winner. We fall for the hype and sensationalism because of the hope that this year, finally, the winner of the Derby will be THE ONE, that special horse who can go on and parlay wins in the Preakness and Belmont and end up on all the tv sport programs and sports magazines. This hope makes us lose perspective, at least until we realize the horse crossing the wire first under the twin spires is an Animal Kingdom, Mine that Bird, Giacomo, or Super Saver(and no disrespect to those very good horses, but most everyone knew they weren't THE ONE).
mrm More than 1 year ago
A horse that wins the Derby is The One. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to win the Derby, arguably the hardest of all races to win. Think about it. Everything has to come together. First and foremost you must have the right horse peaking at the right time. Secound, you need to have a good trip and a good ride. In short, more than most races there is so many factors that have to come together. It seems as if in your opinion the only horse worthy of praise is a Triple crown winner. If you have ever owned or trained a racehorse then you would know how tough it is to win any stake race.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Other than a great tradition, the KY Derby is like a chance to win the lottery, but the balls are horses, and you get to watch them bounce around for a few months. Is it the greatest racing event? Of course not. The Breeders Cup is of a far higher quality. But nothing is more beautiful than the Derby. And winning it? Oh my. What a dream to come true. It's the kind of race they write poetry about. What more do you want? The one thing that annoys me is the money grabbing owners who can't wait to retire their Derby winner.
mrm More than 1 year ago
You need a special horse to win the Derby but you also need some luck which is why it's the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how you put some of those words in my mouth. First, when using the term "The One", I'm talking about the search for the mythical horse that will somehow save the sport; and since horse racing stories rarely make it out to the general public, The One is going to be a Triple Crown winner, just about the only accomplishment that can land a horse on the covers of newspapers and magazine. As for only Triple Crown winners deserving respect, I don't know how you got that from what I wrote. I think all racehorses should be given respect. My point is the so many people hype up the Derby and hype certain horses, but then when the winner is some less fashionable longshot, they then minimize the importance of the Derby. It's the inconsistency I'm lamenting. Either the Derby is by far our most important race and the winner is the sport's most important horse, or the Derby is simply our most popular race, but not the best nor most important(for year end honors) race. Mine That Bird won the Derby by 6, and by years end many were calling him a fluke(ignoring his placings in the Preakness and Belmont). Barbaro had won the Holy Bull and Florida Derby, then wins the Kentucky Derby by 6 as an undefeated horse, yet is not the 3 year old champion that year. Super Saver lost the Eclipse to a horse that finished 6th in the Derby. Here's my opinion of the Kentucky Derby: It is the most popular and thus biggest race in North America, but it is not the best race. In the months leading up to it, the Derby is hyped to excess, and made to seem like the end-all; it's only after we get a winner like Mine That Bird that many are reminded that the Derby is but one race, and that perhaps yet again we all got a little too carried away beforehand. The Derby is a great race, and it's an incredible accomplishment to win it; it's the race that owners, trainers, and jockeys most aspire to win. And the winner is invariably a quality horse, even the longshots. However, rarely is the Derby North America's best race of the year, and rarely is the winner the continent's best horse. The Derby, after all, is a restricted race with a field of many horses that have no business trying to run 10 furlongs, with the inevitable result a number of disasterous trips. As the Derby approaches, it's fun to look ahead and try to spot the future Derby winner. But we shouldn't view such races as the Rebel as mere preps, or points races. Nor should we forget that the Derby often doesn't even produce the divisional champion, let alone the Horse of the Year, and that in terms of the quality of fields and championship implications, the Derby is most definitely not #1. The run-up to the Derby is fun, the projections a source of wonderful debate. The Derby is the sport's biggest moment, and the winner is deserving a praise. And the Derby is almost always the most attractive betting race of the year. But again, it rarely is the year's best race, and the winner is rarely the best horse. In fact, the last time the Derby winner was that year's Horse of the Year was Charismatic in 1999, and before that Sunday Silence in 1989. Just keep that in mind as we devote all this time to the Derby.
Gary McIntyre More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Wayne Lukas.....Always Happy to see him win, but he hasn't won many of the big purses lately.....Will be fun following these and Lukas in the DERBY.....
Infinity More than 1 year ago
I wasn't impressed. Nothing said wow. Certainly not a bodiemeister type performance. Lukas getting some stock.....imrpving colts...maybe 4th in the derby. Verrazano looks like the one.....
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
S99 hit the ground as hard as any horse I've seen run on TV, IMHO he will show up with some kind of injury after this race. Congrats to the Lucas team, but they won't be there in the Kentucky Derby. Both of his horses are good horses, but that was not a very tough race without S99 in the picture.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
i thin next year your going see trainers like pletcher and baffert ship more and run more horses in these preps. with the new system there going have some horses left out because they put all there eggs in one basket. it makes a big difference not having 2 year old races count for much or anything at all. this year one bad race and were going some top horses not in the derby