Will Take Charge's dramatic win in Saturday’s $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) earned the 3-year-old Unbridled's Song colt 50 points towards entry into the Kentucky Derby, basically assuring himself a position in the starting gate for America's most coveted racing prize.
With progeny earnings in 2013 of just over $1.6 million, Unbridled's Song is third on this year's General Sire list.
The Rebel unfolded early as predicted, with Title Contender and Super Ninety Nine vying for the early lead while Will Take Charge sat mid-pack in sixth. After a half mile in :47.19, Super Ninety Nine began to give way rounding the final turn, with Oxbox, Will Take Charge's stablemate, striking the front after six furlongs in 1:12.39. Will Take Charge began his charge in earnest, collaring the leader in the final strides to win by a head. The winning time was 1:45.18 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.
“I was feeling pretty good 100 yards from the wire,” said winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas after his 1-2 finish. “The competition was so tough. The hill gets a little steeper from this point.”
Will Take Charge bests stablemate Oxbow in the G2 Rebel
Will Take Charge, who races for Willis D. Horton of Marshall, AR, improved his record to three victories from seven starts and has now earned $545,371. With a total of 60 Derby points, (he earned 10 points from his win in the Smarty Jones S. in January), Will Take Charge sits atop the Derby points leaderboard.
Lukas said Mr. Horton would have the final say on whether or not Will Take Charge makes his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13, but did say the next time he would meet stablemate Oxbow again would be May 4 in the $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1).
Will Take Charge has some special breeding on both sides of his pedigree. Bred in Kentucky by Eaton, he is out of Take Charge Lady, who earned $2.48 million in a stellar career that included eight graded stakes victories. She is the dam of Take Charge Indy, winner of last year's Florida Derby (G1).
Horton paid $425,000 for Will Take Charge at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.