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Lukas Likes Will Take Charge's Clark Draw

Will Take Charge Rebel 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has four career victories in both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, but he will bid for only his second victory in the Clark Handicap when he saddles Willis D. Horton’s rising 3-year-old Will Take Charge in Friday’s 139th running of the race.
 
But there’s good karma for Lukas in Friday’s race in that his only previous win sealed an Eclipse Award championship for Overbrook Farm’s Surfside, who was named top 3-year-old filly of 2000 after she closed that campaign with a victory over older males in the Clark. Lukas hopes to nail down 3-year-old championship honors for Will Take Charge, whose yearlong body of work  is highlighted by a strong second half of 2013 highlighted by wins in the Travers (GI) and the Pennsylvania Derby (GII) and a narrow loss to Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where Lukas’ colt lost by only a nose.
 
Will Take Charge drew post seven in the nine-horse field for the Clark, and Lukas was OK with that development.
 
“I don’t think it’s too significant, going a mile-and-an-eighth,” Lukas said. “There’s such a blend of pace and closers that I don’t think it’ll make a lot of difference. It should be a fair break.” 
 
While most of the pre-race talk focuses on the battle between Will Take Charge and accomplished older rival Game On Dude, Lukas sees the race as much more than a one-on-one showdown.   
 
“It’s a good Clark,” Lukas said. “I would say it’s got more depth than some of them that we’ve had in the last few years. I think it’s a really good bunch. They’re talking about just those two horses, but there are some other horses in there that are pretty damn nice.” 

Will Take Charge has a 4-2-0 record in 10 races this year with earnings on the season of $2,633,200. His lifetime slate stands at 5-3-0 in 14 races and his career bankroll is $2,727,371.
 
The Clark run by Will Take Charge will come 27 days after his big effort in the Breeders’ Cup, but Lukas has insisted since that race that his colt has thrived in the days since he returned to his home base at Churchill Downs. Lukas said that continues to be the case with two days to go before the final run of a memorable 2013 season for Will Take Charge.
 
“I’d love to do this,” Lukas said. “You always like to have things end up well, but I’m optimistic that we’ve made the right decision here. I’m looking forward to running him – I really am. He’s doing so well – I’m really looking forward to it.”

 

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