Will Take Charge clinches division with Clark victory

Will Take Charge clinches division with Clark victory
Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography


The G1 Clark Handicap was a two horse race on paper, and that is exactly how things turned out when the real running commenced. The King of California, Game On Dude, came away with the lead as the field turned for home, and for all intents and purposes, it looked as though he had the win in the bag for much of the stretch run. But as the wire loomed near, 3-year old upstart Will Take Charge had much to say about the outcome.

Despite jockey Mike Smith asking him for run early, Game On Dude’s advantageous rail draw did not exactly pan out in terms of getting the lead. Instead speedy Our Double Play rocketed from his outside post and cut across to the rail to do the early dirty work. Game On Dude settled in third to the outside, and Will Take Charge comfortably stalked the pace in fourth. As the race progressed, Game On Dude inched up to press the issue to the outside of Our Double Play. Racing with little more than a length separating them, the duo clicked off fractions of 23:80 and 47:29.
As they hit the turn, Game On Dude drew on even terms with pacesetting Our Double Play and then put that foe away, clicking off the first three-quarters in 1.11:14. Meanwhile, jockey Luis Saez had taken Will Take Charge wide, giving him plenty of room to unfurl those long legs of his. Straightening for home, Game On Dude looked home free, but Will Take Charge was just getting warmed up. Seeming to know just where the wire was, Will Take Charge passed Game On Dude in deep stretch to record the win by a head. Grade 3 winner Easter Gift closed from third last to grab third. The order of finish was completed by Bourbon Courage, Jaguar Paw, Finnegan’s Wake, Our Double Play, Golden Ticket, and Prayer for Relief.
As the second choice in the field of 9, Will Take Charge returned $6.80, $3.00, and $2.60. Game On Dude, the post time favorite, returned $3.40 and $2.60, and Easter Gift returned $5.20. The winning exacta returned just $18.60 for a $2 wager, and the trifecta paid $60.90. The winner’s share of the purse pushed Will Take Charge’s career earnings past the $3 million mark. Today’s tally was the colt’s 5th win in 11 starts this year.
No matter what happens in tomorrow’s G1 Cigar Mile, Will Take Charge has sewn up divisional honors. Even if Verrazano or Goldencents comes away with a win against a deep field, Will Take Charge has a victory in one of the division’s biggest races plus a win against his elders and only a nose loss in America’s glamor race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Verrazano’s record could look better, but when you break it down, Will Take Charge owns wins in more important races.

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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