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.
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
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