The narrow loss to Mucho Macho Man in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) at Santa Anita by Willis D. Horton’s Will Take Charge
might not be the final race of the year for the late-blooming 3-year-old star.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who guided the son of Unbridled’s Song through an impressive second half of 2013 that included victories in the Travers (GI) and Pennsylvania Derby (GI), said Wednesday that Will Take Charge could wrap-up his racing season in the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Lukas described Will Take Charge as “possible” for the Clark.
The 139th running of the Clark, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that shares its history with the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), will be run in its traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving spot on the calendar on Nov. 29.
“We may run him one more time, since it’s a Grade I,” Lukas said. “I think we’re in good shape anyhow. Most people I’ve talked to in the press think he’s champion (3-year-old male). If he wins the Clark, it would probably put the icing on the cake.”
Lukas said Will Take Charge would be nominated to the Clark prior to the Nov. 13 deadline. His runner-up finish in the Classic left the colt’s career record to 5-3-0 in 14 races and boosted his earnings to $2,727,371.
“It broke my heart,” Lukas said. “I just stood there and said, ‘How could he get that close and not win it?’ (Belmont Stakes winner) Palace Malice cost us the race. He bore us out real bad, bumped us and pushed us way out on the turn and we had to recover from that.”
A victory in the Clark Handicap wrapped-up an Eclipse Award championship for a Lukas star in 2000. After Overbrook Farm’s Surfside finished second to Lukas-trained stablemate Spain in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs, Lukas wheeled the regally-bred daughter of 1978 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) winner Flanders back against males in that year’s Clark, which was then a Grade II race.
She won the Clark by four lengths to conclude a campaign for which she was named the year’s champion 3-year-old filly.
Lukas said 2-year-old star Strong Mandate
is not a candidate for the $175,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Nov. 30. Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack’s son of Tiznow finished third to New Year’s Day in last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita
Lukas said Strong Mandate, the winner of Saratoga’s Hopeful (GI), would be pointed for a spring campaign that would begin at Oaklawn Park. The colt concluded his juvenile season with a record of 2-0-1 in five races with earnings of $432,900.