Race Preview: Clark Handicap – Churchill Downs, November 29, 2013

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Matt Carter

November 29th, 2013

The feature race on Friday at Churchill Downs is the 139th running of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and it’s a good one, featuring Game On Dude and Will Take Charge. A victory by either could sew up Eclipse Awards for the two.

Game On Dude was sent off as the 8-5 favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and, even though wide, was in contention early, but faded to be ninth. Last year after his Classic loss, Game On Dude came right back a month later and won the Native Diver at Hollywood Park by a length and one-quarter. If the six-year-old gelding can be forgiven for his loss in the Classic, he will be tough to run down in the Clark.

Of course, there were no Will Take Charges in the Native Diver and he represents the biggest threat to the favorite. Will Take Charge finished second in the Classic, beaten just a short nose by Mucho Macho Man. The three-year-old has really come into his own since the summer, winning the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. Mucho Macho Man got the jump on him at Santa Anita and jockey Luis Saez cannot let that happen again. Will Take Charge may be better at ten furlongs and the Clark is at nine.

Our Double Play and Bourbon Courage exit an allowance race over a sloppy Churchill track last month and while Our Double Play parlayed an easy lead to victory, Bourbon Courage is one to thing about to upset the top two. Bourbon Courage is making his second start off a five month layoff and as a three-year-old won the Grade 2 Super Derby and was Grade 1 placed, finishing third in the Clark last year. Bourbon Courage should be in the second flight, just off of Game On Dude and in front of Will Take Charge. Jockey Corey Lanerie has been riding lights out at the current meet and his mount must be respected.

First post on Friday at Churchill is 12:40 pm ET with the Clark off at 5:35.