While the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships are in the books, the race for Champion Three-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, November 29, could feature leading three-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 Three-year-old male.
Will Take Charge misses by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 2
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, November 30, according to co-owner Glenn Sorgenstein.
Goldencents takes the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 1
“Originally, I had told (trainer) Doug (O’Neill) that the Malibu Stakes makes sense,” said Sorgenstein, “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 three-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 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 Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale by Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm.
Groupie Doll takes 2nd straight Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2
“When I purchased Groupie Doll, my sole intention was for her to be retired and to become a mom,” Pope said. “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.”
Groupie Doll sells for $3.1 Million at Keeneland November
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 said. “I think we’re in good shape anyhow. Most people I’ve talked to in the press think he’s champion (three-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 6-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
It seems that if Will Take Charge wins the Clark, he has champion three-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 voters by defeating Groupie Doll in the Cigar Mile.
Will Take Charge (left) beats Moreno (right) at the wire in the Travers Stakes
Will Take Charge is 10-4-2-0 in 2013, with earnings of $2,633,320. His wins came in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Grade 2 Rebel, Grade 1 Travers and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. In his two races facing older horses, he ran second in both the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Goldencents running away with the Santa Anita Derby
Goldencents is 9-3-3-0 on the year, and has earnings of $1,268,000. His wins came in the Grade 3 Sham, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and most recently against older horses in the Grade 1 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 too against older horses.
Assuming it is Will Take Charge or Goldencents, it will be the first time since 2000 that a horse has won Champion Three-year-old male without having won a Triple Crown race in their three-year-old campaign. Tiznow secured his bid for 2000 Champion Three-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.