Will Take Charge scored a big win towards Champion 3-year-old honors with his Travers Stakes victory (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
While the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships is in the books, the race for champion 3-year-old male may end up being decided by two races on Thanksgiving weekend. The Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, slated for Friday, Nov. 29, could feature leading 3-year-old male Will Take Charge, fresh off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Should Will Take Charge win the Clark, he is a lock for champion 3-year-old male.
The other contender added to the mix after defeating older horses in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile is Goldencents, who is set to run in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday, Nov. 30, according to co-owner Glenn Sorgenstein.
“Originally, I had told [trainer] Doug [O’Neill] that the Malibu Stakes makes sense,” Sorgenstein told Blood-Horse. “Because we wouldn’t have to ship, it was his home track [Santa Anita Park], and we’d be assured of good weather. But then I started thinking, ‘What the heck; from the polls we’ve seen, he’s second to Will Take Charge as leading 3-year-old, and sending him to New York would give the East Coast writers an opportunity to see him race. And Aqueduct is a good, fast track where speed holds.’”
GOLDENCENTS WAS IMPRESSIVE WITH HIS BREEDERS' CUP VICTORY
Goldencents will have to battle it out against Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll, who was just purchased for $3.1 million at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale by Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm.
“When I purchased Groupie Doll, my sole intention was for her to be retired and to become a mom,” Pope told Blood-Horse. “However after spending time with her and speaking with her previous connections, I felt that she may still want to run a few more races.”
Will Take Charge on the other hand, has only been listed as “possible” for the Clark Handicap, according to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
“We may run him one more time, since it’s a Grade 1,” Lukas told Blood-Horse. “I think we’re in good shape anyhow. Most people I’ve talked to in the press think he’s champion [3-year-old male]. If he wins the Clark, it would probably put icing on the cake.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert also listed his multiple Grade 1 winner Game On Dude as “possible” for the Clark Handicap. Game On Dude finished a disappointing ninth sent off as the 1.70-to-1 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
It seems that if Will Take Charge wins the Clark, he has champion 3-year-old male locked up. However, should Will Take Charge run, and lose in the Clark, Goldencents could make the decision much more difficult for Eclipse Award voters by defeating Groupie Doll in the Cigar Mile.
Will Take Charge has four wins and two seconds from 10 starts in 2013, with earnings of $2,633,200. His wins came in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, Grade 1 Travers Stakes and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. In his only race facing older horses, he finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Goldencents has three wins and three seconds from nine starts this year and has earnings of $1,268,000. His wins came in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and most recently against older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He finished second in three races: the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes, the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, all against older horses.
Assuming the champion is Will Take Charge or Goldencents, it will be the first time since 2000 that a horse has won champion 3-year-old male without having won a Triple Crown race in its 3-year-old campaign. Tiznow secured his bid for 2000 Champion 3-year-old male with a win in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Hope you’re as hungry for Thanksgiving weekend as I am. Giddy up.