Thoroughbred Racing

Up the Backstretch: Hall of Fame trainers vie for PA Derby

By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A list of the trainers who have saddled winning horses in the Pennsylvania Derby over the years includes some of the best known such as Woody Stephens, Laz Barrera and Harvey Vanier.

Also included in the list are Hall of Fame conditioners Bill Mott, Shug McGaughey and Nick Zito. Absent, however, are a pair of Hall of Fame trainers who endeavor to add the $1 million stakes for 3-year-olds on their resumes on Saturday.

D. Wayne Lukas and Jerry Hollendorfer seek their first Pennsylvania Derby victory with colts who are currently in completely different positions this late in the racing season.

Lukas, Hall of Fame member since 1999, has 2-1 favorite Will Take Charge in the eight-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile race. Hollendorfer, inducted two years ago into the Hall, ships Fury Kapcori, 8-1 in the morning line, from California for the popular event.

Will Take Charge, owned by Willis Horton, comes into the Pennsylvania Derby off a nose victory in the Travers in Saratoga at odds of 9-1. The chestnut colt previously had been second to Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy Stakes at the New York track.

The fact that Will Take Charge is the Travers champ puts double the history- making potential into this start. A win would give Lukas his first PA Derby victory and the colt can become the first Travers champ to claim the event.

Fury Kapcori, co-owned by Hollendorfer, leaves California for the first time to start Saturday at Parx Racing. The colt has seen action in the Golden State at Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Fresno Fair.

Reuniting with Fury Kapcori is Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was aboard the colt in his career debut on July 1, 2012 at Hollywood Park when finishing eighth in an 11-horse field. Smith also is seeking his initial Pennsylvania Derby win.

Fury Kapcori then broke his maiden the following month at Golden Gate Fields and claimed a stakes race at Fresno. Hollendorfer moved him up in class for the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood, where the colt ran second, beaten just a half-length.

The big start came in December when Fury Kapcori was second to Violence by 1 1/4 lengths in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.

However, the 3-year-old was away from the races until August, when he was the 8-5 favorite in an optional claiming race at Del Mar, but could do no better than fourth. He showed he needed that race when he got second as the 13-10 favorite in the El Cajon Stakes Aug. 30 at Del Mar, dropping a head decision to Holy Lute while covering 32 feet more than the winner. The extra 32 feet equates to roughly 3 3/4 lengths.

The 34th Pennsylvania Derby sets up with an East versus West battle along with Hall of Fame members vying for their first win in the stakes.

09/19 13:18:40 ET