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Will Take Charge wins Clark Handicap

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Will Take Charge bounced back Saturday from his loss in the Breeders Cup to win the Grade 1, $550,700 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs Saturday.

Just 27 days ago, the horse trained by D. Wayne Lukas lost by a nose in the Classic to Mucho Macho Man on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. This time, it was jockey Luis Saez and the 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song - the second betting choice - who scored the narrow victory, winning by a head over favorite Game on Dude and jockey Mike Smith.

Our Double Play and Francisco Torres took the early lead with Game on Dude tracking in second. Game on Dude, the Bob Baffert trainee who was coming off a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, took the lead in mid-stretch and appeared to be in control.

That's when Will Take Charge moved from his stalking spot mid-pack and powered down the lane to catch the 6-year-old gelding just before the wire.

''When he came into the stretch, my horse had to change leads, so that's what I tried to (get him) do,'' Saez said. ''When he changed, he was flying, so I knew I was going to beat him.''

Will Take Charge paid $6.80, 3.00 and 2.60. Game on Dude paid $3.40 and 2.60 and Easter Gift, with Joel Roasrio aboard, paid $5.20.

Owned by Willis D. Horton, Will Take Charge covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:49.39. Will Take Charge increased his record to six wins in 15 starts with earnings of $3,055,148.

The flashy chestnut with the big white blaze blossomed after disappointing efforts on the Triple Crown trail. He was a troubled eighth over the sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby, a lackluster seventh in the Preakness Stakes and a dismal 10th in the Belmont Stakes.

Lukas didn't give up. He removed the blinkers the colt had worn in his previous nine races, and he appeared rejuvenated as he ran second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July.

The colt went on to post victories in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes and the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.

''I thought maybe it was his best race of the year, even though the Breeders' Cup was sensational,'' Lukas said. ''On this particular surface, going an eighth of a mile shorter, I think he showed his versatility pretty good today.

''He's a classy horse and he's gotten the idea of getting up (in time). He seems to know where the wire is.''

With the win, Will Take Charge has put himself in the lead for the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award.

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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!

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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.

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