With Take Charge Lady and Bella Bellucci both on the sidelines, a field of just five 3-year-old fillies will run Saturday at Belmont in the grade I Mother Goose Stakes.
Take Charge Lady was pointed toward the June 29 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I), but instead, trainer Ken McPeek has decided to give the 3-year-old filly about a month off. McPeek said the filly hasn't been eating well, and some blood work indicated she's "a touch dehydrated," said the trainer.
Belterra took the lead in mid-stretch and drew away to a 2 3/4-length victory over Netherland in Thursday's $61,100 featured allowance for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up at Churchill Downs.
Two of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country, Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) winner Take Charge Lady and Comely (gr. III) winner Bella Bellucci, will make their next starts in grade I stakes races at Belmont Park. Bella Bellucci is being pointed toward the Acorn on June 9, while Take Charge Lady will wait for the June 29 Mother Goose.
After missing the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Take Charge Lady bounces back to win the Dogwood.
Take Charge Lady is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/16-mile $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, who finished second in the Kentucky Oaks and won the grade I Ashland Stakes, is expected to compete at Churchill Downs May 25 in the grade III Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
Trainer Ken McPeek said Tuesday morning that Select Stable's Take Charge Lady will not ship to Baltimore for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II).
Paulo Lobo can call himself an American success story. The 33-year-old trainer came from his native Brazil 16 months ago to try to build a successful career, much like his father has back home. Lobo is off to an impressive start after longshot Farda Amiga won the Kentucky Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths over favored Take Charge Lady on Friday.
Some people called it the best Kentucky Oaks field ever. But its luster has been diminished by the losses of Tempera, Bella Bellucci, and Belterra. Still, the remaining fillies are no slouches.
Here's some thoughts about this year's Kentucky Oaks from three trainers who have won it:
Ashland Stakes winner Take Charge Lady heads a field of 10 3-year-old fillies that were entered Tuesday morning for Friday's 128th running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Take Charge Lady is one of the Kentucky Oaks' most formidable forces. She has won all three of her races in 2002, cruising by margins ranging from 4 1/4 lengths to 8 1/2 lengths.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Take Charge Lady turned in her final workout in preparation for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) when she worked five-eighths of a mile in :59 3/5 at Churchill Downs on Friday morning.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady put in a five-furlong breeze at Churchill Downs Friday as she prepares for her engagement in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), breezed four furlongs in :47.60 over a "sloppy" track in his final major training move before a scheduled run in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Louisiana Derby winner Repent came out of his second-place finish in the Illinois Derby with a chip in his left front ankle, and has been taken off the Derby trail.
Even though Take Charge Lady was an impressive winner in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday at Keeneland, she probably will still run in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) instead of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). But trainer Kenny McPeek, interviewed on Sunday morning, did not completely rule out a Derby start.
With two Triple Crown nominees in action on April 6, Jerry and Feye Bach of Select Stable faced a dilemma that most Thoroughbred owners would envy. They could head south from their home near Cincinnati and watch Take Charge Lady in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Or they could go north and cheer on Repent in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Sportsman's Park.
Take Charge Lady, who is undefeated in two races this year, drew the No. 5 post position for the $500,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday at Keeneland.
Ten horses were nominated to the 2002 Visa Triple Crown by the late deadline, which closed Saturday, March 30 at midnight. The 10 additions, each at a cost of $6,000, increased the number of nominations to a total of 415.
This year's Kentucky Oaks could be a humdinger, and on March 12, Churchill Downs announced that the $500,000 race at 1 1/8 miles had lured 146 nominees.
Repent gets up to win the grade II Louisiana Derby by a nose over Easyfromthegitgo.
The expected battle of the 'ladies' never materialized in the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III), the local prep race for Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) won by Take Charge Lady, but Lake Lady will attempt to rebound from a fourth-place finish in that race in Saturday's $350,000 feature.
An impressive performance by Take Charge Lady in Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks could propel the 3-year-old daughter of Dehere into a start against the boys in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), according to trainer Ken McPeek.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said Wednesday that Repent will not be going to Dubai for the UAE Derby on Mar. 23. McPeek had been giving the race serious consideration, but now has decided to point for either the Louisiana Derby, Spiral Stakes, or Illinois Derby.
It was the same old song but with a different beat. In 1995, trainer Kenny McPeek brought Tejano Run to Fair Grounds for his sophomore debut in the Risen Star Stakes. Tejano Run staggered home in fifth as the 1-2 favorite that year but went on to finish a fast-closing second to Thunder Gulch in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Take Charge Lady took control at the start of the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Saturday and never looked back, equaling the course record while romping to victory in the grade III race for 3-year-old fillies.
With the Gulfstream surface doing a Jekyll & Hyde transformation, Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Repent blazed 5 furlongs Wednesday in :58 flat, working in company with stablemate Take Charge Lady. The Kentucky Jockey Club winner galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:11 4/5.
Trainer Kenneth McPeek saddled the favorite in both of Churchill Downs' stakes races for 2-year-olds Saturday but won only with Repent in the $217,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) as his Take Charge Lady finished second in the $215,200 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) for fillies. In between those two races, Bet On Sunshine stretched out for a rare route race, winning the 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 7 1/4 lengths.
The 2-year-old fillies that figure to be the favorites for the Nov. 24 $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs completed their serious training for the 1 1/16-mile race with Tuesday breezes at Churchill.
There is no question that You has proven the most so far among the nine entries in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). But the beauty of handicapping 2-year-old races is that some young horses improve by leaps and bounds in a matter of a few weeks, while others who matured may already have reached their best form.
Morton Fink's Stephen Foster Handicap winner Guided Tour breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 in company over a muddy track at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Two new shooters have entered the picture for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), and neither came out of the Frizette Stakes (gr. I), the division's big race during the Oct. 6-7 weekend.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady did exactly that when she assumed the lead rounding the second turn and then held a game Never Out at bay to win Friday's Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II).
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