|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/31/03
In today's notes:
The 2003 International Festival of Racing is over, but another marquee member of the equine set will introduce September to Arlington Park guests when Select Stable's Take Charge Lady is expected to dominate six feminine rivals in Labor Day Monday's 67th running of the Grade III Arlington Matron.
How good is Take Charge Lady? Good enough to have made the pace in Oaklawn's Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap last April during the Racing Festival of the South before losing in the final jump to Horse of the Year Azeri.
Good enough as a 2-year-old to have won Keeneland's Grade II Alcibiades by a length and come back to that Lexington oval in the spring of her 3-year-old season to win the Grade I Ashland by four and a quarter. Good enough to have won again last fall at Keeneland by taking the Grade I Spinster.
Good enough to have been the favorite in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks and been clearly second best in that Louisville outing despite being bumped in the stretch run.
And finally, in her most recent trip to the post in the Grade II Delaware Handicap, been good enough to stretch her speed out to 10 furlongs and be easily second best in that Midlantic outing July 20, despite no particular affinity for that surface.
"She's run well whenever I've run her this year," said trainer Ken McPeek of his potential candidate for an Older Filly & Mare Eclipse Award at season's end. "Unfortunately, she's hooked three other fillies who were at the absolute top of their game when we met them.
"As for the race with Azeri this spring," McPeek said, "I honestly thought we had a chance to beat her and we almost did. Hopefully, if she runs well in the Matron, we will go on to the (Grade I Overbrook) Spinster at Keeneland (Oct. 5) and then on to the (Grade I Nextel) Breeders' Cup Distaff. (Oct. 25 at Santa Anita)."
Last year, when still a sophomore racing against older fillies and mares, Take Charge Lady came to Arlington Park for the Distaff but finished an sixth in an uncharacteristic performance McPeek is quick to dismiss.
"I think she got sick on the van ride coming up to Chicago," McPeek said, "because after the race we found an infection in her guttural pouch. I think she got it from the cold weather. She's never really cared for cold weather."
Take Charge Lady, the headline attraction in Monday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap, races in the silks of Select Stable. That is the nom-de-course of Cincinnatians Jerry and Feye Bach, and the male half of that partnership was asked how the 4-year-old daughter of Dehere got her name.
"I used to come home at night after work and watch my wife, as the mother of three, take charge of cooking dinner, giving the kids instructions about doing their homework and handling a bunch of things all at once," Jerry Bach said. "It was just amazing to me how she could accomplish so many things at the same time."
Bach, formerly the owner of a tool and die firm that manufactures jet engine parts, sold the company more than four years ago and now works in other areas of the financial world, but it is clear that family values are a constant in his life despite success in business and as an owner of Thoroughbreds. Prior to his active run with Take Charge Lady, Select Stable enjoyed success with Repent, winner of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as a juvenile as well as the Grade II Super Derby as a sophomore.
However, it is Take Charge Lady, according to Bach, who has given Select Stable its most consistent performances and Bach was asked what he considered the high point (to date) of her many successful outings.
"I would say winning the Spinster last year at Keeneland," said Bach, after giving it some thought. "Take Charge Lady won the Alcibiades there as a 2-year-old, the Ashland as a 3-year-old, but when she won the Spinster last fall against older fillies and mares, she became only the third horse to accomplish that feat. I took tremendous pride in her performance that day.
"Keeneland is less than two hours from my house," said Bach, "and not only did I have my wife and her family and our friends with me that day, but my mother as well. I think I'll always remember that as one of my favorite days.
"When we came to Arlington for the Breeders' Cup, she didn't run her race and I knew she was a better horse than that," Bach said. "I've never won a race at Arlington yet, and I look forward to her coming back to Arlington and we'll hope to do a better job."
Trainer Harvey Vanier, whose five straight training titles at Arlington during the Nineties is a record for consecutive conditioning championships at the local oval, saddled a training double Saturday. Vanier took down winning honors in the third race with Nancy A. Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbreds LLC's Trove with Larry Sterling Jr. up and came back to the winner's circle after the sixth race with Steve Sawatske's Ivan Jay Perry with Chris Emigh aboard.
Jockey Chris Emigh posted a riding double Saturday winning with Ivan Jay Perry and coming right back in the seventh with Ashby Thoroughbreds' Bad Kitty for trainer Hugh Robertson.
Jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. also rode two winners, taking the second race with Donald J. McNeil's Serai for conditioner Moises Yanez and the featured $45,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap with Jess Miller & Iron County Farms' Sharbayan for trainer Wally Dollase.
Moises Yanez actually posted a trainer's exacta in the second half of the double, winning with Serai and also saddling Dennis McWilliams' Tokyo Spy to gain the runner-up spot with Eddie Razo aboard.
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