Will Take Charge, a 3-year-old Unbridled's Song colt, set himself up for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) with a stirring victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) (VIDEO
With Saturday's win and his victory in the Aug. 24 Travers (G1), Will Take Charge has won two consecutive $1 million races and moves to the head of the 3-year-old class in search of year-end championship honors.
Will Take Charge is the leading earner of 2013 for Unbridled's Song, whose progeny have earned $6.6 million this year.
After sitting in fifth for the first five furlongs, Will Take Charge found a gap near the rail inside the quarter pole, and Luis Saez guided the gutsy chestnut between horses to strike the front in short order. Kept to task in the final furlong, Will Take Charge drew away to win by 2 1/4-lengths.
Will Take Charge hauled in $562,000 for the win, upping the D. Wayne Lukas trainee's earnings to $1,827,371. The colt is earned by Willis Horton, who purchased him for $425,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling sale.
"His maturity is really starting to take hold," Lukas said. "I told Mr. Horton before the race that I didn't think (Will Take Charge) had ever looked better. I really think he gained 25-30 pounds since the Travers."
"It is going to come down to head to head," Lukas added of the battle for 3-year-old honors. "I am not blown away to think we are going to overwhelm anything, but we are very much in the picture and it will come down to head to head competition."
Lukas also said Will Take Charge will return to Churchill Downs on Sunday, where he will train until approximately a week before the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.