VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

Will Take Charge pulls upset in Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - A little tinkering by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas paid off in a big way in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Will Take Charge, with a new rider in Luis Saez, caught Moreno in the final stride and won racing's Mid-Summer Derby by a nose to give the 77-year-old Lukas his third Travers win and first since 1995.

Lukas called a jockey audible during the week and chose the 21-year-old Saez over Junior Alvarado to ride Will Take Charge in a race that was supposed to be a three-horse showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Orb, and two of trainer Todd Pletcher's stars, Haskell Invitational winner and favorite Verrazano and the Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice.

``I changed up a few things,'' Lukas said, flashing a broad smile. ``I took a chance on an up and coming rider. You look terrible if it doesn't work, but it's sweet if it does.

``I thought my horse trained well, but these things are so tough. This is a horse who is going to get better. He's getting his act together.''

And so is Lukas, who is having a sensational season with his 3-year olds. After going 13 years without a Triple Crown race win, he pulled one off with Oxbow in the Preakness. With Oxbow out with an injury, up stepped Will Take Charge, a colt who ran in all three Triple Crown races but failed to hit the board in any of them.

``They were reminding me it's been a long time between drinks, but when they come like this, they come double,'' Lukas said. ``It feels pretty good.''

With Jose Lezcano aboard Orb for the first time as a replacement for the injured Joel Rosario (broken bone in his left foot), the Derby winner made a strong move for the lead in the stretch and finished third behind Moreno in his first race since finishing third in the Belmont.

``You can't cry over spilled milk,'' said Orb's trainer, Shug McGaughey. ``We got him back on the right track, and now we'll point for something else.''

Palace Malice, who won the Jim Dandy at the Spa last month, got off to a poor start and fell way behind the leaders and finished fourth under Mike Smith. Verrazano, with John Velazquez riding, stalked the leaders as usual but ended up seventh for just his second loss in eight starts.

Will Take Charge was the 9-1 fourth betting choice of the crowd of 47,597 on a gorgeous, sunny day. The son of Unbridled's Song ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.68, and paid $21.20, $8.60 and $5.20. Moreno, with Jose Ortiz aboard, returned $25.40 and $8.60. Orb paid $4.30 to show.

Romansh was fifth, followed by War Dancer, Verrazano, Golden Soul and Transparent.

As expected Moreno led from the start and still held the lead heading into the stretch. On the inside, though, Orb made his move for the front. But Will Take Charge came barreling down the stretch, pulled even with Moreno on the outside in the final yards and nudged ahead at the wire.

``I want to say thanks to God, Lukas and everyone who's coming here to see these champions,'' Saez said after his first Travers ride. ``Last time, when he finished second (in the Jim Dandy), I saw the replays and I knew how to ride him.''

Eric Guillot, who trains Moreno, thought his gelding just might pull off a huge upset.

``Brutal, huh?'' he asked. ``Last jump. He couldn't have done any better.''

Will Take Charge earned $600,000 for owner Willis Horton, and increased his career earnings to $1,265,371 with his fourth win in 12 starts.

A few days before the Travers, Lukas talked about how much he enjoys competing in the top races.

``I love the big ones,'' he said. ``I love to get in that main arena and try to pull it off.''

He did it again in the Travers.

On the undercard, 28-1 shot Capo Bastone won the $500,000 King's Bishop, Sweet Lulu took the $500,000 Test Stakes, and Laughing won the $250,000 Ballston Spa.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Dempsey: At the Gate - Thursday
News: 2018 Belmont Stakes Odds
Baffert thinks Justify has right stuff
Track, fatigue to test Justify at Belmont
Justify wins Preakness Stakes
Good Magic has fast start, tough ending
Preakness may ultimately land at Laurel
Justify hopes to shine at wet Preakness
Red Ruby captures Black-Eyed Susan
Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont Park or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry daily with picks from Belmont, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $19.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership