Toss-up? This year’s U.S. 3-year-old champion male

Will Take Charge and Luis Saez winning the 2013 Travers. NYRA/Adam Coglianese.

Will Take Charge and Luis Saez winning the 2013 Travers. NYRA/Adam Coglianese.

The last time three different horses won the U.S. Triple Crown races, none of them won the award for champion 3-year-old male. That honor went to Will Take Charge, a horse that finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, seventh in the Preakness, and 10th in the Belmont Stakes.

But he got good — really good — in the second half of the year, and the horses that won those races — Orb, Oxbow, and Palace Malice — didn’t fulfill the promise they’d shown in the Triple Crown. Orb didn’t win another race after the Derby, nor did Oxbow after the Preakness. Palace Malice won one of four starts, the G2 Jim Dandy.

After the Belmont, Will Take Charge won the Travers (G1), the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), and the Clark (G1). He lost the Breeders’ Cup Classic by a nose.

It’s possible that a second-half horse will become this year’s Will Take Charge; 3-year-olds will have that chance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on October 8; in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 5; in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 25; and in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on November 26.

Continue reading at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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