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Will Take Charge, Moreno Meet Again in PA Derby


For local racing fans, the 2013 G2 Pennsylvania Derby will be a case of déjà vu all over again.

Last year’s edition was a rematch of the historic dead heat in the G1 Travers Stakes between Alpha and Golden Ticket and this year again will feature a Travers rematch. Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge nosed out Southern Equine Stable’s Moreno August 24th at Saratoga and the two will again square off on Saturday.

Will Take Charge has been a major player for legendary Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas all season. After winning the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March, the big Unbridled’s Song colt raced in all three Triple Crown races. In the Derby, he was making a huge run on the final turn before being stopped in traffic and then turned in disappointing efforts in both the Preakness and the Belmont.

After a freshening and the removal of blinkers, he returned to the races with a fast closing second to Belmont Stakes winner Palice Malice in the G2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga and then rallied for a dramatic victory in the Travers, getting up by a nose in the final strides.

Lukas, of course, is one of the sports all-time greats. The 78 year-old former basketball coach has compiled a mind boggling resume. A record 14 Triple Crown wins (6 - Preakness, 4 - Kentucky Derby, 4 – Belmont), a record 19 Breeders Cup wins, not to mention four wins in the Kentucky Oaks. After being elected to racing’s Hall of Fame in 1999, in 2007, when he was elected to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, he became the first person in history to be elected to both.

Moreno, the horse that almost won the Travers, will try to turn the tables on Saturday. The gelded son of Ghostzapper has had an interesting career so far to say the least. He lost the three races he ran during his two year-old season and then proceeded to lose the first six starts of his three year-old campaign.

However, after moving east from California after an early May defeat, he’s been a new horse. He won his east coast debut by romping in a special weight at Belmont on June 8th and then came back a month later to win the G2 Dwyer by seven lengths. An erratic stretch run in the G2 Jim Dandy left him third behind Palice Malice and Will Take Charge and sent him to the Travers as a 31-1 long shot.

Jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Eric Guillot almost pulled it off. Leading from the outset, he loomed a winner coming to the wire, only to see Will Take Charge’s late surge nail him on the money. We’ll see if the shorter distance in Saturday’s Derby provides the measure of revenge he’s been seeking since that heartbreak at Saratoga.

Here’s the complete field for the $1 million G2 Pennsylvania Derby

1.Transparent Kiaran McLaughlin Irad Ortiz, Jr 8-1
1A  Romansh Tom Albertrani Rajiv Maragh 8-1
2 Speak Logistics Edward Plesa, Jr. Paco Lopez 5-1
3 Moreno Eric Guillot Jose Ortiz 5-2
4 Battier Todd Pletcher Angel Castillo 12-1
5 Java’s War Barclay Tagg Julien Leparoux 4-1
6 Fury Kapcori Jerry Hollendorfer Mike Smith 8-1
7 Will Take Charge D. Wayne Lukas Luis Saez 2-1




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Older Comments about Will Take Charge, Moreno Meet Again in PA Derby...

Why's everyone saying Moreno? Will Take Charge can do it again!
One word: Moreno.
I was originally picking Moreno, but I will change that and go with Java's War....Eh

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