Lady Tak Comes From Behind, Stays Perfect

Lady Tak Comes From Behind, Stays Perfect
Photo: AP/Lou Hodges Jr.<p>
Unbeaten Lady Tak wins the Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday.
(from track report)
Lady Tak proved her class and determination and extended her record to a perfect 5-for-5 in winning the $350,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) in New Orleans Saturday.

The victory capped off a spectacular Fair Grounds meet for Lady Tak, who won the Thelma Stakes and the Tiffany Lass Stakes in January.

"She deserves all the credit," said trainer Steve Asmussen, who trained Lake Lady to a second-place finish in the Oaks last year. "For this filly to be that intelligent to change her style to suit the race at this level of competition, she is more than one in a million."

Ridden by Donnie Meche, Lady Tak settled off the pace in third in her first true route race, allowing Rebridled Dreams to click off fractions of :24.24 for the quarter-mile and :48.17 for the half-mile.

Lady Tak remained behind Rebridled Dreams and Atlantic Ocean going into the final turn. Meche maneuvered three-wide into open space, rolling away for a 3 1/2-length win over Atlantic Ocean.

"You talk about what you do with them (trying to teach a horse to rate) in the morning and try it with all of them," Asmussen said, "but it takes someone as intelligent as her to learn her lessons well. It was a very exciting race, to win a race like the Oaks with that kind of command."

Lady Tak finished off the1 1/16-mile test in 1:44.36.

"He (Asmussen) worked her several times behind horses and she has been perfect coming behind horses in the morning," Meche said. "It is very exciting being on a horse that is undefeated. She just crushes everything they throw at her. I think we'll see even better ones out there and I think we are ready for them."

Owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Lady Tak returned $4.20, $2.60, and $2.10 as the public's 11-10 choice. Atlantic Ocean, the 8-5 second choice in the field of six 3-year-old fillies, finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of Silverbulletday Stakes winner Belle of Perintown.

"The winner was pretty impressive," said Atlantic Ocean trainer Bob Baffert. "I thought we had it at the top of the stretch, but she couldn't quicken with her. I would have liked to see her kick on earlier. It was still a good race."

Said Atlantic Ocean's jockey, David Flores: "I had her where I wanted, but she was bobbling more today than usual. When I called on her, she didn't fire. I thought she would accelerate when they turned for home, but she just stayed at the same pace."

Lady Tak, who raised her career earnings to $355,920 with Saturday's win, is by Mutakddim out of the Lucky North mare Star Of My Eye.

Saturday's total handle from all sources was $7,238,736, the highest this season and fifth-highest in Fair Grounds history.

(Chart, Equibase)

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