Take Charge Lady, winning the Ashland Stakes.

Take Charge Lady, winning the Ashland Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Take Charge Lady 4-5 Favorite in Dogwood

Take Charge Lady is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/16-mile $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

The 3-yeaer-old daughter of Dehere trained by Ken McPeek, had been scheduled to run last week in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) on the eve of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course, but a minor ailment prompted a change in plans. A small amount of mucous was discovered in the filly's throat following a pre-race workout.

"She's been doing well," said McPeek. "I think it was, more than anything, just a change in the weather and she just had some mucous in her lungs. We were glad to catch it before we went up there."

Although she is an odds-on favorite as she drops back to 1 1/16 miles in the Dogwood, Take Charge Lady is still looking for her first victory at Churchill Downs. She was second in the Golden Rod (gr. II) last fall before she reeled off victories this spring in the Silverbulletday (gr. III), Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. I), and a romp in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I).

Then came the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The filly was the Oaks favorite and opened a clear lead in the homestretch of that 1 1/8-mile event, but could not hold off the late charge of Farda Amiga, who rallied in deep stretch to win by 1 1/4-lengths. The Oaks, though her first defeat in four races this year, did little to diminish Take Charge Lady?s status as one of the country?s top sophomore fillies.

"That's her only defeat this year and it came at a mile and an eighth--her first start at that distance," McPeek said. "She's a real special filly and I feel fortunate to have her."

Regular jockey Tony D'Amico will ride McPeek's filly, who is the Dogwood co-highweight at 121 pounds.

Mrs. William S. Kilroy's Charmed Gift chased Take Charge Lady in both the Silverbulletday and Fair Grounds Oaks and is back for round three under Robby Albarado. The Neil Howard-trained daughter of A.P. Indy recently won a one-mile allowance race at Churchill and is the 5-2 second choice in the morning line.

Other contenders include Sabine Stable's French Satin, winner of the Florida Oaks (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs, and recent Churchill Downs allowance winner Allamerican Bertie.

The field is as follows:

Post/Horse (weight)... Jockey... Morning Line
1. Allamerican Bertie (114)... Pat Day... 5-1
2. Charmed Gift (116)... Robby Albarado... 5-2
3. Jaramar Rain (114)... Calvin Borel... 12-1
4. Summer Delight (114)... Craig Perret ... 15-1
5. French Satin (121)... Jon Court ... 10-1
6. Take Charge Lady (121)... Tony D'Amico... 4-5
7. Reason To Talk (114)... Justin Vitek ... 15-1

The feature race is the ninth on a 10-race card that kicks off the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend at Churchill Downs, which is offering 10 races both Sunday and Monday. Post time for the first race on all three days is 1:10 p.m. (EDT).