Thrilling Grade 1 Travers goes to Will Take Charge
Saturday, August 24, 2013
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Will Take Charge, Unbridled's Song's top 3-year-old with a new rider in Luis Saez, caught Moreno in the final stride to win the $1 million Travers (G1) on Saturday, racing's Mid-Summer Derby, by a nose.

As expected, Moreno led from the start, but surprisingly, the 30-1 shot still held the lead midway through the stretch. Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb made his move up the inside; meanwhile, Will Take Charge came three wide down the stretch, pulled even with Moreno on the outside in the final yards and nudged ahead at the wire.

Will Take Charge ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.68

"I changed up a few things," said an obviously pleased winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I took a chance on an up and coming rider. You look terrible if it doesn't work, but it's sweet if it does.

"I thought my horse trained well, but these things are so tough. This is a horse who is going to get better. He's getting his act together."

"I want to say thanks to God, Lukas and everyone who's coming here to see these champions," Saez said after his first Travers ride. "Last time, when he finished second (in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy), I saw the replays and I knew how to ride him."

Will Take Charge earned $600,000 for owner Willis Horton, and increased his career earnings to $1,265,371 with his fourth win in 12 starts. His previous stakes victories came in the Grade 2 Rebel S. and Smarty Jones S., both at Oaklawn Park.

Unbridled's Song, who tragically passed away at 20 on July 26, has been a top-10 sire throughout this year. With nearly $5.5 million in progeny earnings to date, he ranks ninth on the 2013 General Sire list. His three Grade 1 winners is second-most among all North American sires.