Distaff Preview (9/25): Take Charge Lady Takes Charge

Take Charge Lady, runner-up in the Gazelle Handicap (gr. I), provided some off-track excitement Sept. 22 in the distaff division of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

The daughter of Dehere, out of Felicita, blazed through five furlongs in a bullet :58.48 on Belmont Park's main track. She out-paced 29 other horses that worked the same distance on the main track and training track that day including Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Harlan's Holiday and Fourstardave Handicap (gr. III) winner Capsized.

Take Charge Lady is trained by Kenny McPeek and owned by Jerry and Feye Bach's Select Stable. McPeek is aiming the filly for the $500,000 Overbrook Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 5 opening weekend at Keeneland. Take Charge Lady broke her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths at Keeneland and went on to win two graded stakes at the Lexington track, including the Ashland Stakes (gr. I).

The division has been quiet at the racetrack so positions on the World Thoroughbred Rankings are unchanged this week. Through Sept. 22, Take Charge Lady remains in fourth place behind Azeri, Farda Amiga, and Summer Colony.

Azeri, who has led the rankings since they began in June, is based at the San Luis Rey Downs training center in Southern California. The powerful 4-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter, out of Zodiac Miss, worked six furlongs Sept. 21 in 1:11.80 on a fast track. Laura De Seroux trains the filly for the Allen Paulson Living Trust. The late Allen Paulson bred Azeri.

De Seroux is playing her cards close to the chest regarding Azeri's next start, which could be the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park. She has said she may find race for Azeri before then depending the weight assignments from racing secretaries. The Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Oct. 2 at Santa Anita is a likely spot if De Seroux decides the filly needs another race.

Azeri has been a formidable competitor this year, losing only once in seven starts. Her six victories include five grade I races and her only loss was a second behind Summer Colony in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II).

Farda Amiga, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I), has been cemented in second place as solidly as Azeri has been in first. The 3-year-old daughter of Broad Brush, out of Fly North, breezed five furlongs in 1:03 at Hollywood Park on Sept. 21. Trainer Paulo Lobo said after the Alabama that he intends to train Farda Amiga up to the Distaff. The filly is owned by Brazilian partners Jose Laudo DeCamargo, Julio Camargo, and Marcos Simon.

Summer Colony, a homebred raced by Edward Evans, is tied for second with Farda Amiga. The 4-year-old daughter of Summer Squall, out of Probable Colony, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.02 on Sept. 21 at Belmont Park. Her next start is expected to be in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 5 at Belmont, according to trainer Mark Hennig. Summer Colony is coming off a 4 1/2-length win in the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) over Transcendental and Dancethruthedawn.

Dancethruthedawn, a homebred racing for Sam-Son Farm, is being aimed for the Spinster. The 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Prospector, out of Canadian champion Dance Smartly, worked five furlongs in a razor sharp 1:00.6 at Woodbine Race Course on Sept. 22. Dancethruthedawn is currently ranked fifth in the standings in a three-way tie with Raging Fever and You.

Affluent, a 4-year-old daughter of Affirmed and Trinity Place, is ranked eighth in the standings. She worked seven furlongs in 1:26.2 on the firm Santa Anita turf on Sept. 21. Affluent is owned by Janis Whitham and trained by Ron McAnally. The filly is tied in the rankings with Gazelle Handicap winner Imperial Gesture.
Rounding out the rankings is a three-way tie for 10th among Allamerican Bertie, Mandy's Gold, and Miss Linda.

Top Contenders


1) Azeri/Laura De Seroux/Allen Paulson Living Trust
Next start: Unknown.
2) Farda Amiga/Paulo Lobo/Jose Laudo DeCamargo, Julio Camargo, and Marcos Simon
Next start: Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
3) Summer Colony/Mark Hennig/Edward Evans
Next start: Beldame Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 5
4) Take Charge Lady/Kenneth McPeek/Select Stable
Next start: Overbrook Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 5.
5) You/Robert Frankel/Edmund Gann
Next start: Breeders' Cup Distaff