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Three Chimneys Farm has secured a 50% interest in multiple grade I-winning 3-year-old Will Take Charge, this year's favorite for the Eclipse Award as 3-year-old male champion and also a Horse of the Year candidate.
Current owner Willis Horton retains the other 50%, Three Chimneys announced in a Dec. 29 press release. The release from the farm owned by the Borges Torrealba and Clay families said plans are for Will Take Charge to remain in competition with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas for a 2014 campaign before he retires to stud duty at Three Chimneys at the conclusion of his racing career.
"Will Take Charge is the kind of horse we all dream of having in the stallion barn, because he's the complete package in every way," said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys. "Being a part of a horse of this magnitude is a step in an exciting new direction for Three Chimneys, and we're thrilled to be able to race him with Mr. Horton in 2014."
After breaking his maiden at 2, Will Take Charge found stardom this year as a 3-year-old, winning the Travers Stakes and defeating older males in the Clark Handicap, and capturing the Rebel Stakes, the Pennsylvania Derby, and Smarty Jones Stakes. He bankrolled nearly $3 million in earnings during the season.
He also narrowly missed winning the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, closing tenaciously to fall just a nose short of Mucho Macho Man in a powerful runner-up performance. Will Take Charge demonstrated tremendous durability and versatility, running 11 times in 2013 at seven different racetracks, and from distances of a mile to 1 1/4 miles.
"Will Take Charge had a magnificent year, and I'm hopeful that he will receive consideration for year-end awards," said Lukas. "He's a special horse because he has it all: physical presence, toughness, talent, and one of the best pedigrees in the book. This deal is a true win-win. I get to keep a special horse in training for some great clients, and the fans get to enjoy Will Take Charge for another year.
"I've already trained one special horse for the Torrealbas, grade I winner Cara Rafaela back in the 90's," Lukas added. "She went on to be the dam of Bernardini. So if we can keep that kind of success going with this new venture, we're in for a super 2014."
Will Take Charge is a son of leading sire of sires Unbridled's Song, the sire of both the leading first crop sire (Dunkirk ) and leading juvenile sire in 2013 (Rockport Harbor). He's out of multiple grade I winner and multiple grade I producer Take Charge Lady, a frontrunner for 2013 Broodmare of the Year.
"I can't think of a better result," said Horton. "This deal allows me to enjoy racing Will Take Charge another year, and secures a wonderful home for him when he's retired. Will Take Charge is the horse of a lifetime, and 2014 will hopefully be exciting for me, for Three Chimneys, and for the fans."