After weeks of talk about the "Big Three", it was an upset with the win during Saturday's Travers. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the 144th running of the Midsummer Derby.
SARATOGA RACE COURSE -- With a light snack and visit from his exercise rider, Will Take Charge's relaxed Sunday morning wasn't anything out of the ordinary, except for the fact he won the Travers just 24 hours earlier.
"I was pretty pumped," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "These are the ones you point for, this is what you get up for and gets you going everyday."
A crowd of 47,597 packed Saratoga's historic grounds on Saturday to see the colt crash the Travers party at 10-1. Will Take Charge gave Lukas his third win in the Midsummer Derby.
Weeks earlier he sent his first-stringer, Oxbow, to the bench with an injury.
"It was great," said Lukas, a member of the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame since 1999. "It was great fun, great fun, great fun. Made my girlfriend think I know what I'm doing."
Up shed row behind the Oklahoma Training Track, the feelings were more subdued for the connections of Orb, Verrazano and Palace Malice. All three of those horses came in with big expectations.
Palace Malice, who finished a length ahead of Will Take Charge in the Jim Dandy, closed well for fourth despite falling in the gate.
"What I saw was a horse that had no chance to win, tried like hell to win and on another day was going to," said Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stables.
"I thought he ran a terrific race in spite of that," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "As far as Verrazano, I don't really have a good explanation."
Verrazano, the morning line and post time favorite, beat just two horses on Saturday after coming in seventh place.
Hours before the race, trainer Shug McGaughey was forced to call an audible and find a new jockey for his colt, Orb. The Kentucky Derby winner's regular rider, Joel Rosario, broke his foot on Friday and is expected to be out for six weeks.
McGaughey made no excuses for Orb's third place finish.
"Lezcano rode a great race on him yesterday," McGaughey said. "I don't discount one thing he did, I thought he rode him great."
With the dust settled, the race for top three-year-old in the country is no closer to being won than it was Saturday morning, a hard charging colt with an unmistakable white streak across his face made sure of that.
"Hopefully we'll get some of these you're considering in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or Pennsylvania Derby," said Lukas. "Better yet, let's just lay it all out on the line for the Breeders Cup. That's what it was designed to do, maybe it will happen."
On Sunday morning, McGaughey said he hadn't made a decision about Orb's next start but said he's penciled him in for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on September 28.
Pletcher said he's still considering his options for Palace Malice and Verrazano.