Willis Horton's Will Take Charge, gearing up for a bid in the Nov. 29 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. I), breezed five furlongs Nov. 22 at Churchill Downs in 1:01 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Exercise rider Rudy Quevelos was in the irons as the 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song was clocked in splits of :12 2/5, :24, :35 2/5, galloping out six furlongs in 1:16 2/5 over a good track while ranked as seventh-fastest of 23 at the distance on a misty and cool morning. It was his second work back since finishing a nose behind Mucho Macho Man in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I); he returned to the tab Nov. 16 with a four-furlong move in :49 flat.
Will Take Charge, who was bred in Kentucky by Eaton out of multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady, blossomed in the second half of the season when he won the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) before just missing in the Classic.
A weather forecast that included rain and tumbling temperatures over the next three days prompted Lukas to move the work up a day from Saturday to Friday. The Hall of Fame trainer and four-time Kentucky Derby winner was happy with the result.
"He just ran," Lukas said. "It's 27 days from the Breeders' Cup to the Clark, so he really didn't need a lot."
The work made Friday another good day in what Lukas has described as a strong week for the improving colt who is a contender for the Eclipse Award that honors the nation's best 3-year-old.
"He's really thriving and it's kind of surprising," Lukas said. "I thought maybe the Breeders' Cup would set him back and we might have to give him a month or so to fill up, but that hasn't been the case. I don't know if it's because he's home here and he's eating better, but he's really had a good three or four weeks."
Earlier in the year the big chestnut colt won the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and took the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) over eventual Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner and stablemate Oxbow. He competed in all three Triple Crown races but finished off the board, truly coming into form after he ran second by a length to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course. He has compiled a 5-3-0 record from 14 starts, with earnings of $2,727,371.