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– 1st Star: Will Take Charge (KY) – Lets party likes it’s 1999! It has been a long time since D Wayne Lukas has won a Triple Crown prep race, but this weekend he won two. On Saturday Oxbow dominated the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds, and of course on Monday Will Take Charge was able to do just enough to win the Smarty Jones. Even though he was only a neck winner, Will Take Charge was impressive considering he had a poor trip. He was fanned six wide into the first turn, and continued to race wide throughout the race while chasing a fairly hot pace. Down the stretch it looked as though he would not get by Texas Bling, but he showed tremendous heart and dug in to get by him in the final strides. This colt could be one to watch, and should also improve as the distance gets longer. He’s going to be a player in the Oaklawn three-year old series.
– 2nd Star: American Sugar (KY) – Her win in the Dixie Belle was a powerhouse performance. The late running American Sugar was way out of it early in the race, but absolutely stormed by them all down the lane to win by a convincing seven lengths. The filly looks to be a top-notch sprinter, but the question of whether or not she can stretch out is still a mystery. Trainer Lynn Chleborad seemed to hint towards running her two turns next, so we’ll see if she’s up to that kind of challenge. If not, they at least know they have a horse that loves going six furlongs and should be able to compete with most horses I’ve seen in her class.
– 3rd Star: Texas Bling (TX) – Perhaps his upset win in the Springboard Mile was NOT a fluke after all. While coming from off the pace in that one, in the Smarty Jones he was part of a hot early pace, and still managed to come within a neck of winning. He was actually ahead of Will Take Charge through almost all of the stretch, before finally losing the lead right before the wire. These two might be developing a bit of a rivalry, and Texas Bling has certainly proven he belongs in races like the Southwest and the Rebel as we move down the road to the Kentucky Derby.
– Brown Almighty (KY) – The locally owned horse would have been a nice story, but this was not a great performance for his first dirt try. He looked unsettled throughout while failing to make any kind of move; finishing fifth and beaten by double digits. Even though this race was disappointing, you shouldn’t give up on him yet. He’s shown he can compete with some solid turf horse as that looks to be where his future lies. I wouldn’t be shocked if they gave it one more go on the dirt, but this effort wasn’t encouraging. According to the Brown Almighty twitter account the horse may have had a lung infection, which would explain a poor performance.
Saturday: The King Cotton – 4-YO & Up, 6 Furlongs, Purse $50,000
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