Take D' Tour Takes it Easy in Stage Door Betty

Alice Muller’s 5-year-old mare Take D’ Tour made her 3-5 odds look like a steal when she took the lead along the inside and never looked back en route to a 14-length win in the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.

The Stage Door Betty was the last of four $100,000 stakes races on Calder’s Grand Slam III card on Saturday.

Take D’ Tour, a grade I winner this summer for trainer David Fawkes, captured the Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap at Calder in her last start Nov. 11, her first win around two turns.  She ran Saturday's 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.38 on a fast track, more than a second faster than she clocked in the Heubeck, while carrying top weight of 124 pounds.

With Eibar Coa aboard, Take D' Tour took control of the pace with early fractions of :24, :47 2/5 and 1:11 4/5. She pulled away from 36-1 shot Running Lass on the far turn and opened up a six-length advantage in upper stretch, drawing away through the lane without urging.

“I like to win like that," Fawkes said. "Twenty lengths is OK by me. I could tell when she came in the paddock that she would get to the front pretty quick today. She’s just grown mentally and physically over the last year to be where she’s at now."

Fawkes said the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Jan. 27 would be next for Take D' Tour.

"As good as she is, it looks like she’ll race on through next year before being bred,” he said.

It was a close finish for the place and show positions with a short head separating the rallying Tiger Belle, ridden by Manoel Cruz and Running Lass, Elvis Trujillo aboard, in third.

Take D’ Tour, earning her sixth win in 10 starts in 2006, returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.40. Tiger Belle paid $6.80 and $5.00, while Running Lass was $7.20 to show.

“She broke a step slow today but I wasn’t too concerned," Coa said. " I knew that I was on the best horse in the race and the key to her is to just keep her happy and let her be where she wants to be.”

The victory pushes Take D’ Tour’s lifetime earnings to $652,740. she won both the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) and Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park this summer. Paul Muller bred the daughter of Tour d’Or in Florida. She has nine lifetime wins in 21 starts.

Amazing Speed finished fourth, followed by Potra Clasica, Sea Siren and Cursora.

(Chart, Equibase)