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Mike Smith will ride Will Take Charge
After the Kentucky Derby, two horses got significant rider changes. D. Wayne Lukas opted to replace Jon Court with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, and Edward Plesa Jr. picked up John Velazquez, another Hall of Fame rider, for Itsmyluckyday in place of Elvis Trujillo.
Now, Court and Trujillo are both fine riders and have strong resumes of their own, but Smith and Velazquez are legends in the making. No matter how you look at it, both horses are getting jockey upgrades.
Will Take Charge lost all chance in the Kentucky Derby when his momentum was stopped when he got caught in traffic. It is impossible to be too critical of a jockey's ride as they are making split second decisions with 1100-pound animals going 40 mph all around them, but the case could be made that Court made the wrong call in the Derby by not swinging him wide and letting him role.
Mike Smith is a big money rider. He shows up in major stakes races and wins. In the Kentucky Oaks, his ride aboard Princess of Sylmar from off the pace was a thing of beauty, and he should be a good fit for Will Take Charge.
Trujillo, on the other hand, did really nothing wrong in the Derby aboard Itsmyluckyday, but perhaps the change to Velazquez will improve his performance.