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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Will Take Charge clinches division with Clark victory

Will Take Charge Clark 615 X 400
Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

 

The G1 Clark Handicap was a two horse race on paper, and that is exactly how things turned out when the real running commenced. The King of California, Game On Dude, came away with the lead as the field turned for home, and for all intents and purposes, it looked as though he had the win in the bag for much of the stretch run. But as the wire loomed near, 3-year old upstart Will Take Charge had much to say about the outcome.

 
 
Despite jockey Mike Smith asking him for run early, Game On Dude’s advantageous rail draw did not exactly pan out in terms of getting the lead. Instead speedy Our Double Play rocketed from his outside post and cut across to the rail to do the early dirty work. Game On Dude settled in third to the outside, and Will Take Charge comfortably stalked the pace in fourth. As the race progressed, Game On Dude inched up to press the issue to the outside of Our Double Play. Racing with little more than a length separating them, the duo clicked off fractions of 23:80 and 47:29.
 
 
As they hit the turn, Game On Dude drew on even terms with pacesetting Our Double Play and then put that foe away, clicking off the first three-quarters in 1.11:14. Meanwhile, jockey Luis Saez had taken Will Take Charge wide, giving him plenty of room to unfurl those long legs of his. Straightening for home, Game On Dude looked home free, but Will Take Charge was just getting warmed up. Seeming to know just where the wire was, Will Take Charge passed Game On Dude in deep stretch to record the win by a head. Grade 3 winner Easter Gift closed from third last to grab third. The order of finish was completed by Bourbon Courage, Jaguar Paw, Finnegan’s Wake, Our Double Play, Golden Ticket, and Prayer for Relief.
 
 
As the second choice in the field of 9, Will Take Charge returned $6.80, $3.00, and $2.60. Game On Dude, the post time favorite, returned $3.40 and $2.60, and Easter Gift returned $5.20. The winning exacta returned just $18.60 for a $2 wager, and the trifecta paid $60.90. The winner’s share of the purse pushed Will Take Charge’s career earnings past the $3 million mark. Today’s tally was the colt’s 5th win in 11 starts this year.
 
 
No matter what happens in tomorrow’s G1 Cigar Mile, Will Take Charge has sewn up divisional honors. Even if Verrazano or Goldencents comes away with a win against a deep field, Will Take Charge has a victory in one of the division’s biggest races plus a win against his elders and only a nose loss in America’s glamor race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Verrazano’s record could look better, but when you break it down, Will Take Charge owns wins in more important races.

 

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Older Comments about Will Take Charge clinches division with Clark victory...

He's THE MAN. Period. Glad to be a fan of such a hard working horse. It's almost as if he acts like he's tired, and tells the other horses "ya know what I'm just not feeling it today..." Then when he spots the wire he says: "Just kidding! Eat my dust." Love this running style. It scares me, yes, but it's very thrilling and quite amazing to watch. His heart, determination and pure will power (no pun intended) have captured the hearts of many fans, including me. Here's to a long and prosperous 2014 for Will Take Charge, and may you're big white blaze always reach the wire first.
I hope this ends the Travers- stimulalor BS, WTC has a great late kick & the heart of a champion.
Game On Dude ran his heart out. He looked like he had it in the bag, but Will Take Charge was just determined that he wasn't going to lose another heartbreaker. No excuses for The Dude or Smith. They ran their race, but WTC and Saez were just better.
You people can't be serious with the excuses.Dude does not need one,he ran his guts out.He got beat on the last jump by the slimmest of noses. The trip did not cost him anything. He tracked and took the lead at the top of the stretch.He opened up a 3 to 4 length lead in the stretch. He did not lose today.WTC ran an incredible race.He was 4 wide the entire trip,he made up 3 lengths from the eigth pole. There was no loser today, 2 champions laid it on te line and not even a n inch was the determining factor.
  • LennyGeorge · S A is a faster track surface where front runners skim it would have made the difference is all I am saying ... however your remarks other than that are right on... · 243 days ago
Great finish from Will Take Charge! I tip my hat to a horse that runs 11 stakes races in a season and finishes as strongly as he has. He's going to be one helluva race horse in 2014.
Dude not getting the lead cost him the win. His was never able to hit his full cursing speed
Poor Dude...Those deep tracks back east cost him the win.......
If Verrazano had not wiped out WTC in the Derby he may have beaten Orb-Watch the replay- I said after the Rebel this was going to be a heck of a horse- he's bigger thab Forego and runs a lot like him. When Saez was finally able to go to the left stick he really took off. Coach- you still da man- Hope they run him as a 4 yr old as it will be a treat for all the racing world to enjoy.
No doubt WTC is 3YO champ and he earned it by running against the best. Bravo to DW Lukas!
Yes, I think he clinched it!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.