Black-Eyed favorite `Lady' backs out

Finding mucous in filly, trainer leaves her in Ky.

May 17, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Take Charge Lady took leave from today's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and, in turn, the pre-race odds took a decided twist.

With the expected prohibitive favorite out of the running for health reasons, the Grade II, $200,000 event becomes anyone's race for the seven remaining entries.

The Black-Eyed Susan is the second leg of what amounts to a Triple Crown for 3-year-old fillies, and the Ken McPeek-trained Take Charge Lady had no shot at a sweep after being upset by long shot Farda Amiga in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3.

McPeek said Take Charge Lady "didn't scope well; we found some mucous" after she breezed at Churchill on Tuesday, and he followed his veterinarian's advice not to ship her to Baltimore.

"I'm disappointed she's not going because I would have liked to see her win that race. But it's a long season, and we have to do what is best for the horse."

Her absence will leave the early favorite's role to Chamrousse-twice beaten by Take Charge Lady in graded stakes at the Fair Grounds last winter.

Chamrousse gets Jerry Bailey aboard for the first time and has been pointed toward this race after missing the Oaks. She is listed at 7-to-5 by track oddsmaker Frank Carulli.

Trainer Niall O'Callaghan felt Pimlico was a better spot than the Oaks.

The second choice in the overnight odds (5-to-2) is Charitabledonation, a relatively obscure filly trained by Mark Hennig. She is 2-for-3 lifetime, winning a $75,000 stake at Gulfstream Park in her last outing.

None of the entries left has ever gone 1 1/8 miles, the distance of the Black-Eyed Susan, which is being run for the 78th time.

First Again, trained by Elliott Walden, was fourth to Take Charge Lady in the Grade I Ashland at Keeneland on April 6 and Nick Zito will saddle a daughter of 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, Aly Quatorze.

Local horsemen will be well-represented in the race by Autumn Creek (Jeffrey Carle, trainer), Tamayo (Fran Campitelli) and Shop Till You Drop (John Fee).

They will be shooting at the stakes record of 1 minute, 48 1/5 seconds set by Imaginary Lady in 1989, the first year after the race was lengthened to 1 1/8 miles from 1 1/16.

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