|Arlington Park Stakes results
McPEEK FILLY 'TAKES CHARGE' IN ARLINGTON MATRON HANDICAP
Multiple Grade I Stakes Winner Cruises to Easy Victory
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Sept. 1, 2003) -- Select Stable's multiple Grade I stakes winning filly Take Charge Lady easily disposed of five overmatched rivals in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap on Labor Day at the suburban Chicago racetrack. Shane Sellers rode the daughter of Dehere to a 10½-length victory over defending champion Lakenheath in 1:50.19 for nine furlongs over a track rated muddy.
Tucked in second behind pacesetter Fly Borboletta, Sellers moved Take Charge Lady to the front on the far turn and steadily widened her margin.
"I just love this filly," said Sellers, a two-time Arlington champion who returned to riding last Fall after a year-long sabbatical from the saddle to fully recover from a knee injury suffered a few years earlier. "She's something else. She's a joy to ride. She's been the highlight of my comeback. It's horses like her that I came back for."
The Arlington Matron was the first win in four starts this year for the 4-year-old filly. Overall, it was her 10th victory in 19 trips to the post. The $90,000 winner's share boosted her earnings to $2,160,351.
Earlier this year, Take Charge Lady finished second to 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri in the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park, and if both distaffers stay the course, they will meet again in the Grade I $2,000,000 Nextel Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park on October 25.
"I think at some point we want to take her (Azeri) on again," McPeek said. "This filly is a top filly. I think we could have beaten her at Oaklawn with a little bit more luck. We're going to be in the thick of it with her for the Breeders' Cup."
Lakenheath rallied to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths clear of To the Queen. Fly Borboleta, Lead Story and Salty Farma completed the order of finish.
"I think she really loves this track," said jockey Chris Emigh, who rode the runner-up. "She was on the muscle today. I couldn't stay with the winner, so after that I just tried to hold her together and made sure I got the second spot."
With $361,288 of the $379,260 in the show pool wagered on the winner, Take Charge Lady created a minus show pool of $75,230.
Sent off as the 3-10 favorite, Take Charge Lady returned $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Lakenheath paid $4.20 and $2.10. To the Queen returned $2.10.
Arlington Park -- host to the record-breaking 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- runs a 104-day meet in 2003 through Saturday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates seven off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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