For Will Take Charge it was as if January to June never existed, unless you want to focus on his photo finish scores in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) and Smarty Jones Stakes and forget about all his out-of-the-money disasters.
But from late July to late November, this was a different horse, having matured into a powerful and consistent stretch runner, with victories in the Travers Stakes (gr. I), Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), Clark Handicap (gr. I), and seconds in the grade I Breeders' Cup Classic (by a nose) and grade II Jim Dandy Stakes.
That late season run of success was sufficient to earn Will Take Charge the Eclipse as champion 3-year-old male.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas for Willis Horton, the son of Unbridled's Song was a throwback, with 11 starts under his belt and racing at seven different racetracks from Arkansas to New York to California and he kept getting better with every start. By the end of the year, he stood out among the top 3-year-olds, who for the most part were unable to sustain their form or avoid injury. His victory over Game On Dude in the Clark pushed his 2013 earnings over $2.9 million.
The votes below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities, NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters.
Will Take Charge, 231; Orb , 15; Palace Malice, 1; Goldencents, 1; Verrazano , 1.