Smarty Jones winner Will Take Charge put in what was described as a visually impressive workout Friday in preparation for the Grade III Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18.
The Unbridled’s Song colt, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, covered five furlongs in 1:00.80 (2/23) over a fast track.
“Excellent,” said Lukas. “I’m really pleased. It was a very, very nice work. We wanted him to do something a little more serious today, and we got it. He finished up well, galloped out strong. I loved everything about it."
Lukas implied that the work could mean the colt will adapt to differing track conditions.
"The track after the break is always a little bit loose and deep, and he handled that beautifully. He did look effortless. It was a really pretty work," Lukas said. "He’ll get one more little easy work. This is probably the last of the more serious works. He’s on target.”
Lukas is also planning to run recent allowance winner, Channel Isle, in the Southwest for Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm. Kelley has been running as Bluegrass Hall LLC. The English Channel homebred rebounded from a poor performance in the Springboard Mile to win a Jan. 26 race by over favored Twin Engines.
“Channel Isle will get a work here too,” said Lukas. “The spacing is different for him based on when his race was, but he had another work coming and then he goes.”
Always in a Tiz, third in the Smarty Jones, arrived back in Hot Springs Friday from his South Florida base. He was accompanied on the trip by stablemate Flash Forward, a 3-year-old filly, who is being pointed toward the Grade III Honeybee Stakes on March 9.
Texas Bling will have his final workout for the Southwest on Saturday morning.
Brown Almighty will also work Saturday under new rider Terry Thompson, who has the call for the Southwest.
The Southwest will be run at 1 1/16 mile this year, up from its traditional one-mile distance.
Edited Oaklawn release with additional content by Dick Downey