Oxbow injury puts Will Take Charge in Travers spotlight

The Sports NetworkJuly 30, 2013 

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was hoping for two stakes wins last weekend in races for 3-year-olds. Instead, he came up with a second in the Jim Dandy and a fourth plus injury in the Haskell.

Will Take Charge finished a length behind Palace Malice in Saturday's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, but more importantly Preakness winner Oxbow suffered an injury when finishing fourth behind Verrazano in Sunday's Haskell at Monmouth Park.

"It's what you guys would call an ankle sprain, it looks like," Lukas noted. "I was more concerned with a condylar (fracture) or something like that but, boy, he had a pretty set of X-rays. It's amazing. For a horse with that many (starts), they were really clean."

Oxbow, with Gary Stevens riding, set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, but tired to finish fourth.

"He just wasn't traveling comfortably," Lukas said. "Gary overreacted probably a little bit, but the good thing is we X-rayed him from top to bottom and everything's clean. (Stevens) thought at the half-mile that he was starting to get uncomfortable, and he just kind of held him from there."

Lukas indicated that Oxbow might still go in the Travers, but a fall campaign is more likely.

The Hall of Fame trainer will definitely be represented in the 144th "Mid- Summer Derby" on August 24 by Will Take Charge.

"He's a little bit light, and he's just getting his growth; the next 30 days should make a difference," Lukas said following the JimDandy. "I can see him being very effective in the Travers; I think he'll even get better late in the fall."

The colt won the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park in January followed by a sixth in the Southwest and a win in the Rebel at the Arkansas track. He then trained up to the Run for the Roses, but finished eighth. He followed with a seventh in the Preakness and was 10th in the Belmont Stakes.

Will Take Charge has banked $585,371 with three wins in 11 starts.

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