Will Take Charge
Owner: Willis D. Horton
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Jon Court
- * Has a pair of stakes wins: the Smarty Jones and the Grade 2 Rebel, both at Oaklawn Park
- * Finished seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Preakness
- * By 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 1996 Florida Derby and Wood Memorial winner Unbridled’s Song and out of three-time Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady
- * Purchased for $425,000 as a yearling
WILLIS D. HORTON
Horton’s family founded D.R. Horton, which was listed by Builder magazine as the largest new home builder in the United States. Horton competed as part of his family’s Horton Stables, which campaigned Grade 2-winning sprinter Partner’s Hero and Kentucky Oaks heroine Lemons Forever. Dual stakes winner Laurie’s Rocket is currently carrying Horton’s colors, finishing third in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Championship on May 18.
D. WAYNE LUKAS
On May 18, Lukas, 77, won his sixth Preakness and a record 14th Triple Crown race when he sent out Oxbow to a 15-1 upset. Among modern-day trainers, the Hall of Famer has the second-most Belmont starters with 22, winning with Tabasco Cat in 1994, Thunder Gulch in 1995, Editor’s Note in 1996 and Commendable in 2000. Lukas, who began training thoroughbreds full-time in 1978, has trained 24 horses to 29 year-end championships, including Horse of the Year in 1990 (Criminal Type), 1996 (Lady’s Secret) and 1999 (Charismatic). A four-time Eclipse Award winner as top trainer, in 1995 he became the first trainer to win all three legs with two different horses, Thunder Gulch and Timber Country, and won six straight Triple Crown races from the 1994 Preakness to the 1996 Kentucky Derby. Lukas was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1999, the year he became the first trainer to reach $200 million in career earnings.
Court, 52, has competed throughout the United States, winning riding titles at Birmingham Race Course, Ellis Park, Hoosier Park, and Oaklawn Park. At Oaklawn, Court posted back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, winning in 2010 with Line of David and in 2011 with Archarcharch. Other major wins for Court include the 2003 Group 1 Japan Cup Dirt with Fleetstreet Dancer, the 2004 and 2005 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf with Valentine Dancer, and the 2005 Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile with Leroidesanimaux. Court, honored by his fellow jockeys with the 2007 George Woolf Award, has served as the Jockeys’ Guild secretary.
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