2013 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs

Churchill’s Clark Handicap

Game On DudeIt is time to preview the Grade 1 Clark Handicap for three year olds and up going a distance of 1 1/8 miles over the main track at Churchill Downs with a purse of $500,000. This one will be fun because it pits the three year old of the year (my opinion), Will Take Charge against one of the toughest older horses, Game On Dude. They have the morning line set at 8/5 for the Dude and 9/5 for Will.. Now you know I don’t like picking the favorite as has been noted numerous times before, but let us take a look. Game On Dude reeled off six straight wins before his disappointing ninth place finish in the Breeders Cup Classic. As far as I can tell, he had no excuse for finishing ninth. The talent in that race was superb and he he did have a 2 month lay off that I guess you could blame. However he had a layoff of that same time before and it did not deter him whatsoever. He just bounced on Breeders Cup day. That is all you can say. Will Take Charge, who was overlooked in the betting that day, closed with a furious run to be beaten by a whisker by Mucho Macho Man. I was so disappointed that he came so close to winning the Classic but was beaten by a nose hair at almost 9 to 1! It would have made my year had he started just a bit quicker but what can I say? I believe if he hadn’t had to swing six wide, he would have won it easily. I am telling you that just a few less trouble spots and he would have won the Derby as well. You can argue with me if you wish, but if you watch the Derby over again you will see what I mean.

Will Take ChargeThird in the morning line for the Clark Handicap is Golden Ticket at 9/2 with Robby Albarado up. He finished second in a Grade 1 affair at Santa Anita in early November. I just can’t see this one being a factor but you never can tell. How do I see it shaping up? Well folks I know you are expecting me to tout Will Take Charge yet again and…you are right. I believe if he can win this one he will be the three year old of the year and who knows, maybe even horse of the year. (My apologies to Wise Dan, whom I respect very much and believe he should be Horse of the Year.) So back to the Clark. I am picking Will Take Charge but I am not as gung ho as you may think. Game On Dude will come back after his bounce and may prove too tough to handle. My third choice in this race is Steven Assmussen’s Prayer for Relief. He is a five year old and with the weight break he will be getting he could lay just off the shoulder of the early speed and run them down in the stretch. Good Luck to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!




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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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