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Will Take Charge All Set for Southwest

Jan.21, 2013 - Hot Springs, Arkansas, U.S - Jon Court and Will Take Charge (left), edged #4 Texas Bling, ridden by Cliff Berry, to win the 6th running of the Smarty Jones Stakes Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park. (Credit Image: © Jimmy Jones/Eclipse/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Willis D. Horton’s Smarty Jones winner Will Take Charge put in a visually impressive workout Friday morning in preparation for the Feb. 18, $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), the next step toward the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13. The Unbridled’s Song colt, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, covered five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over a fast track, the second fastest of 23 at the distance. 

“Excellent,” said Lukas. “I’m really pleased. It was a very, very nice work. We wanted him to do something a little more serious today and we got it. He finished up well, galloped out strong. I loved everything about it. The track after the break is always a little bit loose and deep and he handled that beautifully. He did look effortless. It was a really pretty work. He’ll get one more little easy work. This is probably the last of the more serious works. He’s on target.”

Lukas is also planning to run recent allowance winner Channel Isle in the Southwest for owner Calumet Farm. The English Channel homebred rebounded from a poor performance in the Springboard Mile to win the Jan. 26 race by ¾-lengths over the favorite Twin Engines.

“Channel Isle will get a work here too,” said Lukas. “The spacing is different for him based on when his race was, but he had another work coming and then he goes in the [Southwest].”

In other Southwest Stakes developments:

  • Always in a Tiz, third in the Smarty Jones, arrived back in Hot Springs Friday from his South Florida base for a rematch with Will Take Charge and runner-up Texas Bling. He was accompanied on the trip by stablemate Flash Forward, a 3-year-old filly, who is being pointed toward the Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 9.
  • Texas Bling will have his final workout of the Southwest Saturday morning
  • Brown Almighty will also work Saturday under new rider Terry Thompson, who has the call for the Southwest.
  • Nominations for the Southwest and early-bird nominations for the Arkansas Derby were to close later Friday.




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