04/30/2014 11:48AM

Three 2013 Derby alumni reunite for Alysheba

Barbara D. Livingston
Will Take Charge, training last week at Churchill Downs, comes into the Alysheba on three weeks' rest.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It will be a Kentucky Derby reunion of sorts Friday at Churchill Downs when three members of the Derby class of 2013, Will Take Charge, Golden Soul, and Mylute, cross paths again in the $300,000, Grade 2 Alysheba. Normandy Invasion, who also ran in the 2013 Derby, was entered in the Alysheba but scratched Thursday afternoon after suffering a quarter crack while training that morning.

Golden Soul was best of the trio in the Derby, finishing second behind Orb, but it will be Will Take Charge who will command most of the attention in the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba.

Will Take Charge, one of two horses Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas ran in last year’s Derby along with Oxbow, struggled through the Triple Crown season. He was beaten double digit lengths in all three races, finishing eighth in the Derby, seventh in the Preakness, and 10th in the Belmont.

Will Take Charge’s metamorphosis began last summer at Saratoga when he won the Grade 1 Travers and finished second in the Jim Dandy. He also captured the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and missed by a nose to Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to close out his championship 3-year-old campaign.

[DRF Live: Get live reports and handicapping insights from Churchill Downs on Friday]

Will Take Charge has started three times this year, finishing second in both the Donn and Santa Anita handicaps before posting a hard-fought victory over another graduate of the 2013 Derby,  Revolutionary, in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.

“He’s doing well and I’m anxious to run him,” said Lukas. “A mile and one-sixteenth is not his ideal distance, but that might be countered by the long stretch, which should help him.”

Lukas said he’s not concerned about Will Take Charge coming back in the Alysheba on just three weeks’ rest.

“The way he’s been training, I’m not worried at all about the short turnaround,” said Lukas. “In fact it might be a plus. I thought he won on his class last time at Oaklawn. I don’t think he handled that track very well, it had a lot of moisture in it and was kind of sticky.”

Gary Stevens will replace Luis Saez aboard Will Take Charge in the Alysheba.

Golden Soul has not hit the board in five starts since his runner-up performance in last year’s Derby. Mylute finished fifth in the Derby and third in the Preakness but made only one more start at 3. He returned from a long layoff to open his 4-year-old campaign with an optional claiming win at the Fair Grounds.

Golden Ticket, runner-up in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, stretches out around two turns for the first time this season. He proved no match for Will Take Charge when the pair met here last fall in the Clark.

The presence of Moonshine Mullin, who has won his last three starts, and Bradester, should assure a rapid pace in a field that also includes the steadily improving Coin Broker and Appealing Tale.