Lady Tak Faces Six Challengers In Gallant Bloom

Lady Tak is the obvious class in the field for Sunday's $150,000-added Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park in New York. The 4-year-old daughter of Mutakddim comes into the 6 1/2-furlong race off a head victory over My Trusty Cat in the Aug. 29 Ballerina Handicap (gr. I). Owned by Heligbrodt Racing Sable, Lady Tak is one of only two horses to have won both the Ballerina and the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. She took the Test in July of 2003, defeating eventual champion 3-year-old filly Bird Town.

"She goes out there and gives 110% every time," said Scott Blasi, the New York assistant to Lady Tak's trainer, Steve Asmussen. "She's one of the family. We've had her since she was a 2-year-old, and she's always been so talented. When she loses, she doesn't beat herself up. She goes back out there and gets it done."

Lady Tak has captured nine of her 16 career races and has earned $1,019,602. She has yet to win an added-money event at Belmont, but she finished second there in both the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) and Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) in 2003. She lost by only a head to Bird Town in the Acorn and by a half-length to 48-1 shot Buy the Sport in the Gazelle.

"She's had some close finishes at Belmont, but she handles the track," Blasi said. "She's trained great since the Ballerina."

Jockey John Velsaquez will be aboard Lady Tak, who will carry the Gazelle's top weight of 122 pounds and break from the far outside post position in the field of seven.

Others in the field include three-time grade III winner Ebony Breeze; 2004 Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) winner Forest Music; and added-money winner Zawzooth, who finished second in last year's First Flight Handicap (gr. II).

Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) Field
(Post position, horse, jockey, weight)
1 Ebony Breeze, Cornelio Velasquez, 118
2 Zawzooth, Jose Santos, 114
3 Class Above, Richard Migliore, 111
4 Forest Music, Aaron Gryder, 113
5 Forty Moves, Joe Bravo, 110
6 Molto Vita, Javier Castellano, 115
7 Lady Tak, John Velasquez, 122