Willis Horton has been in the game for years and has experienced both the highs and lows of getting to the Kentucky Derby (G1). In 2000, Horton owned High Praise, one of the early favorites in that year's Derby but the colt died in training before the Derby.
In 2013, Horton is experiencing the highs of the sport with graded stakes winner Will Take Charge. After winning both the Smarty Jones and Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn, Will Take Charge earned a spot in the starting gate the first Saturday in May.
Will Take Charge is the latest superstar for Horton. The colt tallied 60 points on the new points system, punching his ticket to the 2013 Kentucky Derby after a victory in the Rebel Stakes (G2). Will Take Charge finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and from there moved on to run in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, where he was unplaced.
Horton has won a big race at Churchill Downs during his time in the sport, winning the 2006 Kentucky Oaks (G1) with Lemons Forever.
Will Take Charge really came into his own in the second half of 2013. He won the Grade 1 Travers Stakes and the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby before finishing a game second to Mucho Macho Man in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. He closed out his 3-year-old campaign with a win over multiple Grade 1 winner Game On Dude in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. Will Take Charge was named champion 3-year-old male in 2013.