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From Coast to Coast

Will Take Charge tops speed lacking Donn Handicap

 
At the very least, the 2014 renewal of the prestigious Grade 1 Donn Handicap promises to be an interesting one. Along with newly minted Champion 3-Year Old Male Will Take Charge, the race drew the 2012 Canadian Champion 2-Year Old Colt and Horse of the Year, a former turf runner, and a whole slew of other characters seeking fame and glory. On paper, one of the things that stood out the most about this year’s race is the lack of early speed. Sure, there are two or three that will likely go early, but no one entered in this race typically runs on the lead. Whoever ends up leading the way will likely only inherit the spot after it becomes clear no one else wants to do the early heavy lifting.
 
 
Dual Grade 1 winner Will Take Charge was assigned top weight of 123 lbs and will spot his ten rivals four to eleven pounds. The now 4-year old will be making his seasonal debut and kicking off what is sure to be a whirlwind year in which many of the major races for handicap males will be on his radar. The Donn will be run at 9 furlongs and is carded as the 12th and final race on Sunday’s card. Along with being streamed by HRTV etc., the Donn will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 as the kickoff for the Jockey Club Tour on Fox racing series.
 
 
From the rail out, here is the field for the Donn Handicap:
 
 
Uncaptured—(Miguel Mena, 116 lbs) Of the three I foresee being the ones that could go for the lead, Uncaptured is the most likely to get it. With the inside post, I believe Mena will gun him out of the gate and play “catch me if you can.” In his most recent starts, the 4-year old colt has been trying to make a winning move from off the pace but to no avail. Being up on the pace has worked best for him in the past, and though he has only been on the lead by the ½ mile call once in his career, it is a tactic that could greatly boost his chances of winning in this spot. With an uncontested lead, Uncaptured will be dangerous.
 
 
Will Take Charge—(Luis Saez, 123 lbs) Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has stated that his champion colt could run closer to the pace in the Donn, a strategy that will probably be beneficial given the lack of speed. The handsome chestnut has been training lights out over Oaklawn’s deeper main track, and let there be no doubt that the Coach knows how to condition his horses. If he holds his form from the end of last year, he’ll be tough to beat.
 
 
Revolutionary—(Javier Castellano, 119 lbs) The Louisiana Derby winner signaled that his time off did not make him lose his edge when winning his comeback here at Gulfstream last month. It will be interesting to see how the WinStar owned colt renews his rivalry with Will Take Charge. The last time the two met, Revolutionary came out on top (though not the winner) when finishing 5th to Will Take Charge’s 10th in the G1 Belmont. Since then, Revolutionary has had time off to mature, and Will Take Charge has blossomed as a serious racehorse. Revolutionary has the edge in that he already has a start and win over this surface, but he’ll have to build upon his performance last out to beat his rival to the wire. Threat.
 
 
Neck ‘n Neck—(Julien Leparoux, 116 lbs) A graded stakes winner in 2012, Neck ‘n Neck lost a step after being off for 11 months due to a fractured sesamoid in his left front ankle. He has not quite regained his previous form but did manage a nice 3rd behind Lea in the G3 Hal’s Hope last out. He has faced several of these same foes in his last two races at Gulfstream, but he will need to step it up if he hopes to find an answer for them this time.
 
 
River Seven—(Joe Rocco, Jr., 116 lbs) In his 2014 debut, River Seven set what was then the track record for 8.5 furlongs when he won the Harlan’s Holiday. He rides a 3 race win streak but has never faced the top dirt horses the U.S. has to offer since he has previously raced primarily on turf and synthetics. If Uncaptured does not establish the lead, then River Seven is in a good position to go after it himself. He has previously wired a field, so should he find himself on the lead, it won’t be completely unfamiliar territory. Another that could be dangerous on a loose lead.
 
 
Romansh—(John Velazquez, 116 lbs) Lightly raced Romansh is quite familiar with Will Take Charge, or at least he should be familiar with Will Take Charge’s powerful hindquarters as he finished up the track behind that foe in both the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby last year. He did manage to close out last year with a graded stakes score, but he’s in over his head here.
 
 
Viramundo—(Paco Lopez, 114 lbs) The mysterious Viramundo is not in fact a maiden as many have been led to believe. The Kentucky bred son of Stephen Got Even began his career in Panama, racing 10 times as a 3-year old. He won 5 of those races, including a Group 2 event. Since being shipped back to the United States, however, he has barely lifted a hoof. Though he’s been training well at Gulfstream, that form hasn’t transferred to the afternoons. He has managed a pair of 3rd place finishes in South Florida, so he could pull some surprises, but I doubt it. He finds his best stride late, so look for him coming up the center of the track if he does make some noise.
 
 
Lea—(Joel Rosario, 117 lbs) Just when you thought you knew Lea, BAM! he springs something new at you. In his first start on fast dirt, the former turf runner stalked the pace before rolling to a 3 ¼ upset victory in the Hal’s Hope here last month. He is also the third entrant that could look to set the early pace, but with post 8, Rosario would have to use him early to clear the seven to his inside. I don’t think Rosario will want to use him early against this group, however, so I see him sitting just off Uncaptured and/or River Seven. He surprised last time, but he has not yet been truly tested on dirt against the best runners on this surface. Worth a look at the right price.
 
 
Bourbon Courage—(Jose Lezcano, 115 lbs) Has been part of the group that has been knocking heads here at Gulfstream in the stakes ranks. He ran third behind River Seven in the Harlan’s Holiday as the beaten favorite. Since that race, he has been training superbly, posting three straight bullet works at Palm Meadows. He finished 2nd behind Graydar in last year’s edition of the Donn, but he has not reached the winner’s circle since Sept 8, 2012. His works indicate that he is ready to roll, but I don’t think his best will be good enough here.
 
 
Macho Bull—(Magomet Kappushev, 112 lbs) I honestly cannot think of a single reason why Macho Bull should be in this race. He has been routinely beaten like a drum by much worse than what he will face here. Furthermore, he just ran dead last in a starter optional claimer on February 2, but it has not been uncommon for his trainers to wheel him back in a short span of time. Last month he was run 3 times within a 14 day period. The day he wins this race will be the day pigs fly.
 
 
Joshua’s Comprise—(Francisco Maysonett, 114 lbs) This 4-year old son of Comprise has been my favorite lovable loser for some time. He has just 2 wins in 35 career starts. He shows up in stakes races on a frequent basis but generally has little to no impact on the race dynamics as he generally trails the field. Occasionally he will put out an in the money finish, and I very nearly had a heart attack when he won his second career race over the summer. He most recently finished a distant 2nd to Mucho Macho Man in the Sunshine Millions Classic. Despite his tendency to surprise in the exotics, I don’t like his chances here.
 
 
How the Donn unfolds in the early stages of the race will be crucial to how it all ends. Uncaptured is the most likely to set the early pace, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Mena, Rocco, Jr., and Rosario playing a game of cat and mouse up front. Any of the three could be dangerous on an uncontested lead, but this race is really Will Take Charge’s to lose. River Seven and Lea looked excellent in their last outings, but if there is going to be an upset, I believe it will come in the form of Will Take Charge’s previous rival Revolutionary. I like that duo for the top 2 spots with Uncaptured, Lea, and River Seven played underneath them. 

 

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Older Comments about Will Take Charge tops speed lacking Donn Handicap...

Good Luck Vodkak.
amino, ^^^^^^^^, Love it! Ever since we put the train in depot maintenance its been roaring like a lion.
EP, good luck with your WP on River Seven. I'm taking him & WTC XBox and 2.5 over 3.6.8 in the tri.
I think Romansh just might pull this one off. But this is what makes it so excited because nothing is guarantee in horse racing.
Thanks Sword. I really like the connections. The Tucci's deserve this G1, as does Nick. Hoping the horse can take the next step.
That is a nice pick EP. I like it.
we had a ride jump off loading into the gate after he made a move that officials thought was throwing a buzzer. Stopped the race, scratched the mount and three guys came out to the gate and began sifting through the dirt all around where he had been. Never found it but he got three months suspension right in the Fall when he had mounts on the big races.
Just put down a 50 WP bet on River Seven. Good luck to the Horse, Joe Rocco jr, and Nick Gonzalez. Nick said in a taped interview this week that the horse is as good or maybe better then he was going into the Harlen's Holiday.
electrical devices, plugged in or not, are a distinct No No
luv your analysis amino 998 "if he starts hanging PLUG HIM IN" lol
No worries, if it starts getting late, Luis can plug him in. I’m in the caboose rifling through the conductor’s office, but definitely on board Casey Jay’s WTC Supertrain.
Spreading rumors again Nathan.Are you trying to upset fellow POSSE member Jay S.
This is WTC race to loose. With that being said, I think Romansh is going to pull this one off. If he loose, it will be because WTC caught him at they wired.
Thanx t_v... SPOILER ALERT ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Romansh is in the Donn
Icy has the prediction almost correct. He did leave out one: when the speed of the speed blows the doors off the other projected speed and then gets alone on the lead: velociy in the first few fractions TRUMPS positional tendencies.
tomorrow when I have the past performances evaluated sure
Looks like the perfect opportunity to predict the pace, 80% t_v >> Do you have a predicted pace structure for this race that you would care to share, t_v? • 21 hours ago •
With one horse the only speed, jockey controls pace, horse wins usually. With two early speed horses Jockey's have the option of contolling the pace, provided they both can rate. With three early speed horses they can't control. This race has three, it's the only time pace can actually be estimated with any assurrance over 73%. Any other time it's pure guess work or luck, whichever, but it's not scientifific by a longshot. In the extra 1/16 which is equal to 2 football fields+ they will come back in this race, and one Will Take Charge!
REVOLUTIONARY'S LOOKING GOOD! SO HAPPY TO SEE HIM BACK.
I agree Ashley, but will give the bob to Revolutionary.

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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.