Select Stable's Take Charge Lady overcame a wide trip and had just enough stamina to hold off a never-say-die You in winning Sunday's $500,000 Overbrook Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland for the second straight year.
With Edgar Prado aboard, Take Charge Lady won by a head after opening up a two-length advantage over You in mid-stretch. The final time was 1:49 2/5 for the 1 1/8-mile event on a fast track. Miss Linda was four lengths behind in third.
"She got a little tired the last seventy yards but these kind of horses give you everything to the wire," Prado said. "It was a game performance."
The 4-year-old Dehere filly, who won for the fifth time in as many tries at Keeneland, won the 2002 Spinster by 2 1/2 lengths over You. She followed that win with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). She is expected to enter the Distaff again later this month.
Mark Guidry and Miss Linda, with You, ridden by Jerry Bailey, pressing on the outside, had the lead in :23 1/5, :47 and 1:10 3/5. After a half-mile Take Charge Lady, the 1-2 favorite in the six-horse field, pulled to even terms and the trio traveled as a team around the final turn.
Prado urged Take Charge Lady to the front as they began to straighten away for the stretch run. As Miss Linda began to falter, You, on the inside, held the lead briefly but appeared to be tiring as well when Take Charge Lady seized the advantage and appeared to be sailing to victory. You, however, urged strongly by Bailey, came back on to make it close at the end in a game effort.
"I wonder if we didn't train her a little bit light for this race," siad winning trainer Ken McPeek. "She's the kind of filly that takes a light touch and Edgar said she got a little tired the last part. I didn't want to take too much out of her before the Breeders' Cup Distaff."
Take Charge Lady was coming off a 10 1/2-length romp in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) after three consecutive graded stakes placings this year. She has 11 wins and seven seconds in 20 career starts. She has banked more than $2.4 million.
William Schettine bred Take Charge Lady, who was produced by the Rubiano mare Felicita, in Kentucky. She as purchased for $175,000 at Fasig-Tipton in July 2000.
The winner paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10. You returned $2.20 and $2.10. Miss Linda Paid $2.10.
Printempts, Desert Gold and Reason to Talk completed the order of finish.