Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
In an era when complaints about weight, track surfaces, weather and various other racing conditions are the order of the day, D. Wayne Lukas
’s quotes regarding Will Take Charge’s valiant second-place finish to Game On Dude in last Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap are a glaring and most welcome exception.
In a story in today’s Daily Racing Form by Mary Rampellini, Lukas said that “WTC” was scheduled to arrive back at his Oaklawn Park base yesterday, and would now be pointed to the Grade I Oaklawn Handicap on April 12. Game On Dude won Saturday’s Big ’Cap in gate-to-wire fashion by 1 ¾ lengths while setting a stakes record for the mile and a quarter of 1:58.17.
“When the 3-year-old race was run and California Chrome took off like that, I thought, ‘We need to re-evaluate what we’re going to do,’” Lukas said. “You could see the speed was absolutely holding.
“Bob Baffert did a beautiful job preparing (Game On Dude) for the race. That was a masterful training job. He had him trained to the minute. It was the fastest Big ’Cap ever, and when you go back through the historical annals and see who’s won the Big ’Cap, that is something. Great race, great crowd, great theatre.”
And, when you consider that “WTC” had also suffered an excruciating nose defeat in his last visit to The Great Race Place, in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever showing more class following yet another tough defeat than Lukas did in today’s DRF.