Hopes for Warrior's Charge: 'a Grade 1 type of route horse'

October 18, 2019 09:30am
Hopes for Warrior's Charge: 'a Grade 1 type of route horse'
Photo: Coady Photography

“We’re excited to get the big horse back in the barn,” said Clay Sanders, a founding partner in Ten Strike Racing, upon Warrior’s Charge’s return to the Brad Cox shed row earlier this week.

The Munnings colt, who set the fractions before staying on for fourth in the Preakness Stakes, is back in training at Churchill Downs after a bout of colic prevented him from going on to other featured races for 3-year-olds this season.

Connections have turned their attention toward a 4-year-old season and Oaklawn Park’s lucrative series of races for older horses, namely the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2).

“He’s ahead of schedule,” Sanders said. “We didn’t expect him to get back to Brad for another three or four weeks. He’s done everything right since his surgery — healed up, matured. He’s been giving us all the right signals.”

Also campaigned in partnership with Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables, Warrior’s Charge took four starts to break his maiden but then won twice last spring going 1 1/16 miles.

A 6 1/2-length victory April 12 at Oaklawn was enough to convince connections to supplement him to the Preakness at a cost of $150,000. They made most of that back — and got a bit of a thrill — when their colt hit the top of the stretch still in front at Pimlico.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse,” Sanders said of the colic. “He runs arguably the best race in the Preakness, and we think we have a Grade 1 type of horse for the tail end of the year. That’s when the big money races are for 3-year-olds.

“Then he had the setback, and we had to do what’s right for the horse. Hopefully we’ll be paid off by having a big 4-year-old year.”

Warrior’s Charge is likely to go from light training at Churchill to more serious preparations at Fair Grounds, Cox’s main winter base that Sanders said equipped to handle any other colic issues. He could come back in an allowance race before taking on more ambitious targets.

“We haven’t done any of the hard tests or workouts, but he’s giving every indication he’s as good or better as before he had his issue,” Sanders said. “We have high hopes that he can be a Grade 1 type of route horse next year.”

 

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