Take Charge Lady Sharp in Churchill Workout; May Run Saturday

From track reports
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady may have earned a spot in the starting gate for Saturday's $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs with a sharp five furlong work over the track on Monday.

The 4-year-old daughter of Dehere covered the distance over a "fast" track in :59.40. Jockey Shane Sellers was in the saddle for the breeze, which ranked as the third fastest of 32 moves at the distance.

It was the second work for Take Charge Lady since she came up with a bruised left front foot on the eve of the May 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and was forced to scratch from that race. Trainer Ken McPeek had said that Take Charge Lady needed two strong works in the two weeks leading up to the Fleur De Lis in order to make the race and Tuesday's work, coupled with a half-mile move a week earlier in :46.40, appeared to satisfy her trainer.

"She worked well," said McPeek. "We're going to keep an eye on the foot for the next few days and make sure she's good and if she's a hundred percent, we'll run her."

"She went really well last week and I was really excited and my job today was to come out today and see if she was the same," said Sellers. "There was a little difference, but not much. She went :59-and-change and Ken's going to keep an eye on her and it'll be up to him to see what happens. Time-wise, she went good. She's just such a runner. She's a joy to be around."

McPeek said Take Charge Lady has been slow to recover from her foot injury, but has made significant progress over the last three weeks.

"It's been kind of a long process," he said. "Originally, we thought it was just a small bruise. It turned into an abscess that worked its way through the cornet band and we had to cut it out and get the infection out of there. It's not a major deal, but certainly for a horse of her caliber you've got to get it sorted out."

Take Charge Lady enjoyed a terrific 3-year-old season in which she won the Ashland (gr. I) and Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland and won the Dogwood (gr. III) and was runner-up to Farda Amiga in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Her only start as a 4-year-old saw her drop a narrow decision to reigning "Horse of the Year" Azeri in the Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.

"I think we've got the only filly in the country that can compete against Azeri, but at the same time, it's early," said McPeek. "The truth is that time has done her some good. You try to look for some kind of positive out of the negative here and during the time off she's put on some weight and she's a little bigger and stronger than she was earlier in the year. It's still very early. We've got a lot of time between now and the Breeders' Cup and that's our goal."

Take Charge Lady has a record of 9-5-0 in 16 races and has earned $1,860,351.

The Fleur De Lis is one of four stakes races with total purses of $1.35 million on "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" at Churchill Downs. The day's main event is the 22nd running of the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) for 3-year-olds & up at mile and an eighth.

Other fillies and mares listed as "likely" or "probable" for the Fleur De Lis include: Humana Distaff (gr. I) winner Sightseek, Sixty Sails (gr. III) winner and Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II) runner-up Bare Necessities; Milady Breeders' Cup runner-up Enjoy; Gardenia (gr. III) winner Minister's Baby; Paseana Handicap winner Printemps; 2002 Dogwood (gr. III) runner-up Charmed Gift; So Much More and Lead Story.