Edited from a Churchill Downs release
Saturday's 29th running of the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) lost one of its major stars when trainer Ken McPeek decided that Select Stable's Take Charge Lady would skip the race. The race would have been the first for the daughter of Dehere since she suffered a bruised left front foot on the eve of the May 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) that forced McPeek to scratch her from that race. She had turned in a pair of strong breezes in the past two weeks, including a five furlong drill in 59.40 on Monday, that left McPeek optimistic that she would be ready to run in the mile and an eighth Fleur De Lis. But Take Charge Lady jogged over a "sloppy" surface on Wednesday in her first trip to the track since the work and McPeek decided against running her this weekend.
"I think she still needs a little bit more time," said McPeek. "It's so close, but this weekend is too quick."
Take Charge Lady was slow to recover from the bruise, but McPeek said she had made significant progress in the past three weeks. Despite her strong works over the past two weeks, McPeek said Take Charge Lady's foot was still a bit short of where he wanted it to be. "She's probably at 95 percent," he said. "It's still a little bit of a nagging complaint with her."
McPeek said it is possible that Take Charge Lady could run in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), a 1 1/16-mile race set for June 21 at Belmont Park. "I think we could make the race next weekend," he said, "but we can't make it this weekend."
The defection of Take Charge Lady leaves Lucky Seven Stable's Gardenia (gr. III) winner Minister's Baby as McPeek's only starter in the Fleur De Lis.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel is well-known for changing his mind and he has had a change of heart regarding which of his star fillies will run in the Fleur De Lis. Frankel told Churchill Downs officials on Tuesday that he would be sending Edmund Gann's You
, the winner of the Louisville Breeders' Cup, to run in the Fleur De Lis instead of Juddmonte Farm's Sightseek, who won the Humana Distaff (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby Weeekend. She will arrive at the track on Thursday.
You, a 4-year-old daughter of You and I, has stronger credentials at two-turn distances than her stablemate and has five grade I victories to her credit. You started her career in the claiming ranks at Churchill Downs before she was purchased by Gann. She has a career record of 8-5-2 in 18 races and has earned $1,688,055.
Amerman Racing Stable's Printemps
arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday following a flight from California and jogged over the "sloppy" Churchill Downs track on Wednesday. The Ron McAnally-trained 6-year-old mare was the runner-up to Forest Secrets, in a star-studded 2001 renewal of the grade II Falls City Handicap, which was then a grade III event, and was fourth to Allamerican Bertie in the same race last fall. Other fillies and mares listed as "possible" or "likely" for the Fleur De Lis include Charmed Gift
, Lead Story
, and So Much More
. Charmed Gift and Lead Story breezed over the "sloppy" track on Wednesday. Charmed Gift breezed four furlongs 50.60 and Lead Story covered five furlongs in 1:05.60.