The Clark: The Reunion of Dude and the Charge

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Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


The Clark has seemed to be a year-end goal for a lot of good horses to go out with a bang. This field however seems to just keep coming back for more. My Trifecta will be: Will Take Charge/Golden Ticket/Neck N’ Neck boxed with Game on Dude


Will Take Charge- with the way this colt has been grinding his gears all year, he has come out at the top three-year-old colt in the country. He has run 10 total races this season, tied with Palace Malice for the most races run this season. Will Take Charge couldn’t seem to put it together in the Triple Crown, but seemed like a probable winner after his wins in the Smarty Jones and Rebel, in the latter, defeating eventual Preakness victor Oxbow. In the Kentucky Derby, Will Take Charge finished 8th after getting stopped cold by a very tired Verrazano.  Will Take Charge is certainly the horse to beat.

Game on Dude- ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Game on Dude has yet to achieve that elusive award that would most likely reward him an Eclipse Award. Going into the Classic, the Dude was unbeaten, but solely in California. He is without a doubt, better this year than his seasons at 3, 4, and 5. However, who has he REALLY beat this year? He has beat Clubhouse Ride three times this year. Kettle Corn has finished second to the Dude twice. With three grade ones and two grade twos on his 2013 record, Game on Dude is certainly better with age this year. Will Take Charge will have a fast horse to catch on the front end.

Bourbon Courage- without a score in 2013, there is something interesting to me about Bourbon Courage. He has tried stakes company in three of his four starts this year, with his most recent state being an allowance with three-year-olds and up. With only three victories in his two seasons at the track, Bourbon Courage has entered the winners circle after running distances of 6f to 1 1/8. 

Uncaptured- Once at the top of my Derby watch, Uncaptured has turned out to be a competitor, not a winner. Although fantastic at 2, he has to carry his winning ways over to his three-year-old season. He had to leave the States to find the winners circle after taking the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie in Ontario. His last start in the states was in the Indiana Derby with horses such as Power Broker and Holy Lute. Uncaptured can certainly get the distance as he has won at distances from 4 1/2f to 1 3/16. This son of Lion Heart is looking for redemption in the Clark

Prayer for Relief- five starts this year and Prayer of Relief has emerged victorious at the Clark distance of 1 1/8. This year, he has two victories over horses such as Wordly, Tapetowne, and Silver Max. Prayer for Relief, to me, sees like his is in this race, hanging on by a prayer. He either runs well, or he throws in a clunker. With the likes of a match-up against Will Take Charge and Game on Dude, this colt will need a prayer.

Finnegan’s Wake- The last time Finnegan’s wake reached a winner’s circle was in June of 2012, claiming an allowance race over the grass. The last time this one has run on dirt was the Louisiana Derby, where he finished 10th. This season, he has finished in the money only twice, both in stakes company. Finnegan’s Wake seems to be a turf horse, so why they are switching him to dirt is beyond me. He did finished third to Hansen last season in the Gotham. Not a contender in this race.

Golden Ticket- this colt raises such a discussion every time he steps foot on track. He finished in a dead heat last year in the Travers with Alpha, and ever since then, he has been out to prove he is a good colt. Most recently, Golden Ticket was seen closing in on Goldencents in the speed favoring Breeders’ Cup Mile. With 1 1/8 of dirt oval in the Clark, Golden Ticket should go off a great price and look for him to be running at the end with Will Take Charge.

Neck N’ Neck- with only one start this year, Neck N’ Neck is looking for his first G1. With G2 and G3 races under his belt, he has yet to taste the wrath of G1 company like Game on Dude and Will Take Charge. With a win at Churchill over a year ago in the Ack Ack, Neck N’ Neck has beaten the likes of Bourbon Courage, but not anything like the horses he will be up against in the Clark. With the way he sits right off the early pace and stays to the outside most of the time, he could get a really pretty trip. With the speed the Dude will put out, he will have a decent chance, but I am calling him to finish out of the money.


~Written by Casey Laughter 


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Older Comments about The Clark: The Reunion of Dude and the Charge...

I'll go with Game On Dude since that Charles Town, California race really impressed me. Ron The Greek, whoever he is, agrees. How many times has Finnegan's Wake been part of the super? Might be okay at Churchill Downs.
Nice analysis, Casey!

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