|Arlington Park Barn Notes 9/3/03
In today's notes:
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, the facile heroine of Labor Day Monday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap, came out of that impressive 10½-length tally in good order and will leave Arlington Park Wednesday evening on her return trip to Churchill Downs, trainer Ken McPeek said earlier in the day.
"She came out (of the Matron) very good," said McPeek. "I'm back in Louisville, and she's still up there, but she'll come back home tonight."
McPeek was asked if his original plan for Take Charge Lady -- a start in Keeneland's Grade I Overbrook Spinster Stakes -- was still intact.
"That's still the plan," said McPeek. "As long as she stays as good as she is right now, that's where we'll be going. Assuming everything goes well there (in Lexington) we'll go on to the (Grade I Nextel) Breeders' Cup Distaff (at Santa Anita Oct. 25).
Take Charge Lady captured the 2002 Spinster by two and a half lengths after taking command in upper stretch and gradually increasing the margin the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, archrival Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year who soundly defeated Take Charge Lady in last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff at Arlington Park but only beat her by a head in this spring's Grade I Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, is scheduled to make her next start in Santa Anita's Grade II Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap Sept. 28. Laura de Seroux, who conditions that champion mare for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust, will use that race as Azeri's final prep for the Breeders' Cup.
"It's going to be fun," said McPeek, when asked about the prospect of a rematch with Azeri on the West Coast in this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. "I think it's just nice to be a part of a rivalry like that."
In the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings, Azeri remains on top in the Nextel Distaff Division while Take Charge Lady remains in a tie for fourth.
Jim Tafel LLC's Lakenheath, who won the 2002 Arlington Matron and finished second in Monday's renewal, also came out of her effort in good order, according to her trainer Gene Cilio, but future plans for that Colonial Affair mare are uncertain at this time.
Jockey Shane Sellers, who rode 219 winners at Arlington Park in 1991 to establish a single season record that still stands, made the most of his return trip to Chicago for the Labor Day program by posting a riding triple with his only three mounts of the afternoon.
On the same Arlington holiday program, jockey Corey Lanerie -- a fellow native of Sellers' Lafayette, Louisiana, area birthplace -- also piloted a "hat trick," riding three winners from eight mounts.
Sellers, who rode Take Charge Lady to her easy triumph in the Grade III Arlington Matron, also won the third race astride Mary Zimmerman & Elsye Roberts' Gowithfate for trainer Zimmerman, and the sixth with John Franks' Soldierofpleasure for conditioner Frank Brothers.
Lanerie won Monday's opener on the holiday program with Frank C. Calabrese's Cautious Warrior for trainer Wayne Catalano, the fifth aboard Steven M. Asmussen's Spicy Prospector for that trainer, and the seventh with Nelson Bunker Hunt's Stydahar, also for conditioner Asmussen.
Asmussen's training double with Spicy Prospector and Stydahar gave him two winners from three horses saddled during the afternoon.
Arlington Park will have a new Friday late post time of 2:30 p.m. beginning this Friday and remaining in effect throughout the month of September at the northwest suburban Chicago oval.
The first race on Fridays will be one half-hour earlier due to the dwindling daylight hours as the Arlington season draws to a close on Sept. 27.
Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26 are the Friday programs involved for the new 2:30 p.m. post time.
This Friday's "Miller Lite Party in the Park" band will be the rock group "Mary Ann and the Professors."
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