Owner Willis Horton isn't in a hurry to make a deal for likely 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge, and hasn't signed stud contracts or partnership agreements for the chestnut son of Unbridled's Song, he said Dec. 19.
"I made my decision to go ahead and race him next year," Horton said. "Anyway, it's too late now for anybody to be interested as far as having him for breeding season goes. There's potential deals out there—now we've got people interested in maybe partnering for a joint deal while he's racing—but right now we're just going to enjoy him racing in 2014 unless the right one comes along."
The multiple grade I winner worked Dec. 18 for the first time since winning the Clark Handicap (gr. I) over seven-time grade I winning handicap horse Game On Dude at Churchill Downs Nov. 30. He clocked four furlongs for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in :49 2/5 at Oaklawn Park.
"It's going pretty good," Horton said of the blaze-faced colt's training in Arkansas. "Wayne said he was full of it, worked as good as he did before he won the Clark, if not better. He loves it there."
Early in the season, Will Take Charge won the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn before going on to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown. He then won the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) before finishing second by a nose to Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. Bred in Kentucky by Eaton out of multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady, he currently has a record of six wins and three seconds from 15 starts, with earnings of $3,055,148.
According to Horton, Oaklawn or Florida's Gulfstream Park could host Will Take Charge in his first race of 2014. Additional targets include the March 8 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
"Maybe one of the things we'll want to do is get him in an easier race before we hit the hard campaign, but we're definitely going to go for the grade I races," Horton said. "There's six or seven million-dollar grade I races. We're definitely looking at Santa Anita and we're looking at Dubai. I've never been, and I'd love to see that."