Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The prospective field for the 139th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) now includes another Grade I winner following trainer Kenny McPeek’s decision to run Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket in the Nov. 29 race.
The 4-year-old son of Speightstown joins Game On Dude, winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic, and the 3-year-old Will Take Charge, runner-up to Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) and winner of the Travers (GI) and Pennsylvania Derby (GII), among the Grade I winners being pointed to the 1 1/8-mile “Black Friday” race for 3-year-olds and up.
Golden Ticket finished in a dead-heat for first with Alpha in the 2012 Travers at Saratoga and has run very well in Grade I company this year. His best outings of 2013 include a runner-up finish to Goldencents in the recent Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) and a runner-up finished to Fort Larned in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
McPeek had been weighing options for Golden Ticket that included a possible run in the Cigar Mile (GI) at Aqueduct before he settled on staying home at Churchill Downs for a Clark bid.
“A couple of his better speed figures are here at Churchill, plus he doesn’t have to ship,” McPeek said. “That race in New York looked like it was coming up pretty deep with a big field. The Clark looks like it will have a shorter field.”
The 2013 campaign for Golden Ticket has been strong. He has compiled a record of 3-2-1 in eight races with earnings of $442,988. His career slate stands at 5-6-3 in 20 starts with $1,091,323 in lifetime earnings.
Will Take Charge Set for Friday Work
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the final pre-Clark Handicap work for Willis D. Horton’s Will Take Charge has been moved up to Friday because of concerns about a soggy weather forecast for Louisville over the weekend.
Lukas said Will Take Charge is most likely to work in his first set when the track opens at 6 a.m. (all times Eastern), but would not rule out waiting until after the mid-session break for the grooming of the track. The latter option would put the work at around 8:20 or 8:30 a.m.
“He’s really having a good week,” Lukas said. “It’s not one of those works that we’re looking for anything more than just to open his lungs a little bit.”
With the addition of Golden Ticket to the Clark, the roster of known probable starters for the race includes (with trainers): Bourbon Courage (Kellyn Gorder), Easter Gift (Chad Brown), Finnegans Wake (Romans), Game On Dude (Bob Baffert), Golden Ticket (Kenny McPeek), Prayer for Relief (Steve Asmussen) and Will Take Charge (D. Wayne Lukas). Possible: Jaguar Paw (Stephen Lyster).