Brown, Lukas Work Derby Charges at Churchill

Brown, Lukas Work Derby Charges at Churchill
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Normandy Invasion
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Normandy Invasion and Will Take Charge   both worked over a fast Churchill Downs main track April 21 as they near their scheduled starts in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Fox Hill Farms' Normandy Invasion covered a half mile in :48 2/5 under exercise rider Javier Herrera for trainer Chad Brown. Willis Horton's Will Take Charge, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, clocked a mile in 1:41 3/5 for jockey Jon Court.

Normandy Invasion posted fractions of :11 4/5 and :23 2/5, and galloped out five furlongs in 1:0 3/5. The move was the seventh fastest of 81 at the distance.

"I am very happy with the work," Brown said. "I wanted him to go in about :48. It was basically a maintenance move. He has had a nice week of gallops here and he is plenty fit and I just want to maintain what we have."

Runner-up to Verrazano   in the Wood Memorial in his most recent start, Normandy Invasion is scheduled to work again April 28, weather permitting.

"I like that he is fresh coming into the race and he has proven he can overcome difficult trips," said Brown, who is to start his first horse in the Kentucky Derby. "He has gotten sharper as the year has gone on and today you saw part of that when he broke off a little sharper than he has been."

The Tapit   colt arrived at Churchill Downs April 14, and will have nearly three weeks of preparation over the track before the Derby.

"The little time I was at Churchill Downs before with Bobby Frankel, I observed other trainers to see what worked for them here," Brown said of coming in early. "I am going to give him every chance to be successful."

Will Take Charge joined stablemate Channel Isle at the 5 1/2-furlong pole and finished well in front while posting fractions of :13 3/5, :26, :38 3/5, :51, 1:03 4/5, 1:16 4/5, and 1:29 2/5. He was credited with a 1:56 1/5 gallop-out time for 1 1/8 miles.

"The work went very well, it was good," said Lukas, a four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. "I was pleased. I told Jon coming off the track that this horse could cost me a lot of sleepless nights because I am getting excited. He wasn't blowing at all when he came off the track."

The son of Unbridled's Song won the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park in his most recent start March 16. He has posted four breezes since then, including his latest.

"I worked him a mile the last time and I might do six or seven (furlongs) next week," Lukas said. "He is 17 hands, like a big, gangly kid. I gave him a light month to give him some time to fill out."

Calumet Farm's Oxbow   is scheduled to work April 22 for Lukas with Gary Stevens up. Oxbow galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Rudy Quevedo when the track opened for training.

Elsewhere, third-place Wood Memorial (gr. I) finisher Vyjack passed the Churchill Downs stable gate at 4:10 a.m. EDT April 21, completing his journey by van from Fair Hill, Md. Pick Six Racing's Vyjack was being treated for a lung infection at the equine rehabilitation facility there. The problem, described as minor, was discovered following the Wood.

"We had a good van ride, no problems," trainer Rudy Rodriguez said. "He will just walk the shedrow this morning and probably go to the track tomorrow. We usually go out early at home in New York."

Chad Brown discusses Normandy Invasion's work:

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