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Will Take Charge looking for another late burst

 

Can a horse who floundered through the Triple Crown, finishing 8th, 7th, and 10th respectively, possibly end the year as the Three-year-old Male Champion? In the case of Will Take Charge, the answer is yes.


The next hurdle on this unlikely road will take place Saturday at Parx when the D. Wayne Lukas charge will be favored to add the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby to his growing resume. A winner of three stakes races in 2013, Will Take Charge threw his hat into the championship ring with a thrilling late burst that carried him to victory against a strong field in the Travers. Was it too little too late to become a champion? No, a win or two more this year, and he may just be the last one standing in this race.


While it cannot be disputed that Will Take Charge has thrown in some poor efforts this year, the son of Unbridled’s Song has also proven to be a bear when given the opportunity to fight it out to the wire. Case in point, are all three of his stakes scores.


The interesting ride all started in the Smarty Jones Stakes for the colt owned by Arkansas native, Willis Horton. Despite being hung out very wide on the first turn, Will Take Charge joined Texas Bling for a prolonged stretch battle, and just when it looked like the stakes winner to his inside would not yield, or maybe that the late-running Always In A Tiz would roll by late, Will Take Charge found another gear to take the money by the length of his distinguishable snout.


After never getting involved in a sloppy edition of the Southwest Stakes, Will Take Charge demonstrated true grit late as he accelerated to, and just past, his soon to be Preakness winning stablemate, Oxbow in the Rebel Stakes. If the win in the Smarty Jones was gutsy, this one, in which he kicked it into another speed late to edge by a very game Oxbow, was a demonstration of class as much as determination. It sent him off to the Kentucky Derby as still a dark horse, but one in with a chance.


The Triple Crown was a mess, with only the Kentucky Derby offering a real excuse as to why he finished off the board. In the sloppy Run for the Roses, he was mounting some serious get up and go on the far turn when he was completely shut off by a tiring Verrazano. Who knows what happens that day with a clear path, but he had no such excuses in a pair of dull efforts in both the Preakness and Belmont.


It wasn’t so much back to the drawing board as it was up to the Spa for Will Take Charge post-Triple Crown. Feeling good at Saratoga, the long shot ran a big race in a losing effort in the Jim Dandy. His late burst fell short to Palace Malice that day, but it was the kind of impressive finish that saw him make it to the winner’s circle in those two Oaklawn Park stakes races. It was on to the Travers, where he was considered to be the colt with the best shot to challenge the big three of Orb, Palace Malice, and Verrazano.


With a dramatic last ditch push to wire, Will Take Charge won the Mid-Summer Derby. The way he won was eerily reminiscent of how he lunged by Oxbow in the Rebel, but this time the stakes were decidedly higher, and with division leaders, Orb and Palace Malice just behind, it thrust Will Take Charge into the championship picture.


Now some of the best three-year-olds head to Suburban Philadelphia and the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby. Among them will be Will Take Charge. A five-furlong bullet on Friday at Saratoga signals that the long-legged colt with the big white nose remains in fine fettle heading to his next major test. A test that will reunite him with his now familiar foe, Moreno, a late-developing speedster who gave Will Take Charge all he wanted in both the Jim Dandy and the Travers.


He hasn’t yet reached the heights of his mom, Take Charge Lady, who won eight graded stakes in the early years of the last decade, but the $425,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase is starting to come on late. 

 

A good Pennsylvania Derby will send him to the Breeders' Cup ClassicMuch like he did in each of three stakes wins this year, Will Take Charge sees the wire in front of him, and this time he’s reaching for an Eclipse Award. I would not underestimate his ability to do so.  

 

 

What the Nation is saying about Will Take Charge looking for another late burst...

It's not that he is not getting any love. It's just that he is throwing away his chance to win 3yo honors (well not him but his owners). I just gave him some love! haha I said he has a good chance to hit the board in the Classic ( I don't think he will win but I wouldn't be surprised if he got third). I see him doing better than Orb honestly. But I just think him not running in the JCGC gives Orb and PM a much better advantage over him should they win, place or show
WTC gets no love.
I completely agree with Mike. I think him running in the Penn Derby means he gave up 3 YO Eclipse. I just do not see him winning now with Orb and PM going to the JCGC. Even with a win I still do not think that can overcome his poor performances in the triple crown. Plus he would still only have one G1 win this year. Not enough IMO to take 3 yo honors. If Orb hits the board in the JCGC and Verrazano loses the Dirt Mile- Orb takes the honors IMO. If neither Orb nor PM hit the board in the JCGC and Verrazano wins the Dirt Mile- Verrazano wins. I just do not see Orb or PM hitting the board in the Classic. With MMM, Fort Larned, and Game on Dude in there- plus maybe Flat Out- I just don't see it happening. Especially if WTC comes running- he could have a great chance to hit the board as well. Okay I'll stop rambling now.
GO WILL TAKE CHARGE!
I think he is missing a big chance to be champion 3 year old by running in the Penn Derby instead of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. A loss in the Penn Derby will eliminate him from the Eclipse and a win will not really improve his chances. Only a Breeders Cup Classic win would make him champion and that might not be enough if Orb or Palace Malice wins the Gold Cup and runs well in the Classic. It will be hard to overcome the 8th, 7th and 10th in the Triple Crown races and he needs a big win in the Gold Cup not the Grade 2 Penn Derby.
I really think if one of them has a couple more big ones in them, it is most likely Palace Malice
I'm completely on-board. Very nice!
Late pace is the most unreliable of all aspects of pace analysis because accurately drawing on what intermediate base it will be based upon is a big pile of guesswork.
Do any of the top 3YOs have another win or two in them. I sure hope so, although I'm not convinced.
Not if Will Take Charge wins the BC Classic, Kaitlin.
i hope he can win the Pennsylvania Derby to keep all of this suspense alive. but if Orb wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup, i'm afraid its over.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.  



Kentucky Derby 2014