If the Travers wasn’t enough notice, then on Saturday,
September 21, 2013 Will Take Charge officially let the racing world know that
he was for real. Throughout the season, Will Take Charge has shown flashes of promise,
but never built on that promise. He won the Smarty Jones in a thrilling finish,
then disappointed in the Southwest. He came back with another thrilling stretch
run to nab the Rebel Stakes, only to disappoint in all three Triple Crown
By the Belmont, I had given up on Will Take Charge ever
living up to the potential he showed in early stages of the Triple Crown trail….little
did I know he was about to prove me wrong in a big, big way.
First, a blinkerless, Will Take Charge rumbled down the
stretch in the Jim Dandy, to run a fast closing second. He followed that up
with a nose win, over Moreno, Palace Malice, and Orb in the Travers Stakes.
Some may think that was luck. That he capitalized on the difficulties of
others. Orb was running in a grade one Classic, in his first start off an 11
week break. He understandably was short, while Will Take Charge was in the form
of his life. Palace Malice broke awkwardly and was over 8 lengths behind on a
speed favoring track, while getting floated wide on the final turn, losing
precious ground. While these thoughts may be true. For many people, Will Take
Charge was going to have to prove he was no fluke.
In the Pennsylvania Derby, he would be on a surface that is
very conducive to front runners. He would be shortening to nine furlongs, off
the 10 furlong trip he enjoyed in the Travers. All of these factors gave the
speedy Moreno, second in the Travers, a clear advantage in the race.
When the gates opened It was Moreno and Fury Kapcori who set
out for the front, with Moreno emerging with the lead, being hounded by Fury
Kapcori. The pace was a solid one, 23.35, 46.74, and 1.10.41 for the first six
furlong. Will Take Charge was surprisingly close up, for his typical one run
style, never more than four lengths off the pace. Around the turn he was
already to make his move, but trapped in behind a wall of horses. Jockey Louis
Siaz, then angled the big colt inside, finding him a seam on the rail, and Will
Take Charge exploded.
Entering the stretch, it was all Will Take Charge, charging
down the stretch. He went on to win the race by over 2 lengths, the largest
winning margin of his career. The Pennsylvania Derby may not be a grade one,
but the field was worthy of a grade one status, and his performance was nothing
short of a grade one performance.
With his win in the Pennsylvania Derby, Will Take Charge
served notice that he is no fluke, that he is indeed for real, and will enter
the Breeders’ Cup Classic as a horse that merits respect. With this win, he
threw down the gauntlet, putting the ball squarely in Palace Malice, and Orb’s
court, when the run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Should they lose, he surges to
the front of the three year old standings….should they win, be prepared for
possibly the most highly anticipated Classic since 2007.