10/12/2004 11:00PM

Asmussen considering sending Lady Tak up against males


Azeri is not the only female whose connections are mulling a start against males in the Breeders' Cup. Lady Tak, who is one of the nation's top sprinters, is being considered for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Lady Tak is trained by Steve Asmussen, who also trains Sprint hopefuls Cuvee and Bwana Charlie.

"If pre-entries were today, I'd enter all three of them," said Asmussen. "But obviously we're going to let things sort out."

Lady Tak won the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park on Sunday, and was sent to Churchill Downs on Tuesday. She is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday.

Asmussen was pleased with her Gallant Bloom, which came one start after her gritty victory in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August. She was prominent throughout the 6 1/2-furlong Gallant Bloom, which she won by two lengths in a sharp 1:16.04.

"It was perfect," said Asmussen. "It was kind of a tepid quarter, a tepid half, and she came home strongly. I think she was under the minimal pressure as opposed to the hard race in the Ballerina, which was exactly what we were hoping for."

Lady Tak and Bwana Charlie rank high among the point-leaders for the Sprint division, while Cuvee, who won three graded stakes by open lengths last year, has gotten a late start this season and might need an invitation if the field oversubscribes. The accomplishments of the three make for some interesting Sprint options for Asmussen.

"Lady Tak is a brilliantly fast filly, but she is a filly, and you've got to consider that," he said. "Would you want to do that to her? Cuvee, he's a Grade 1 winner, and then Bwana Charlie, he's capable of big races, and he's got a race over the track. There's something to consider about all three of them."

The top three finishers from the Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix Breeders' Cup, which appeared to be the strongest Sprint prep over the weekend, are all headed to the Breeders' Cup.

Champali, who earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 112 for his Phoenix victory, will arrive at Lone Star Park on Oct. 26.

"We may, a few days before we leave, put a little work in him," said Greg Foley, who trains Champali. "He's dead fit and ready to go."

Foley said that Rafael Bejarano, who has won graded stakes on Champali the two times he has ridden him, has the mount in the Sprint.

Champali has won 11 of 20 starts, and with the Phoenix victory went over $1 million in earnings for owners Lloyd Madison Farms IV.

"He's just a great athlete," said Foley. "He's a super-smart horse. He's ultra-consistent. He shows up every time you run him."

Gold Storm went back to the track on Tuesday following his runner-up finish in the Phoenix, while third-place finisher Clock Stopper returned to the track on Wednesday.

"Everything's good," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Clock Stopper. "We'll ship on the last flight out of Churchill Downs."

3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs. Purse: $1 million.

1Pico CentralP. Lobo5-2
Vosburgh win should have clinched the sprint title; why supplement?
2SpeightstownT. Pletcher4-1
Had no excuse in the Vosburgh; still, he is capable of a lot better
3Midas EyesR. Frankel6-1
Preps becoming passe; skipped the Vosburgh, and will train up to this
4Cajun BeatR. Frankel12-1
I believe he will impove a lot off his comeback in the Vosburgh
5Clock StopperD. Stewart15-1
With traffic trouble, the Kee bias, he was up against it in the Phoenix
6Our New RecruitJ. Sadler12-1
Dubai Golden Shaheen winner came back strong at Del Mar
7KelaM. Mitchell12-1
Really put it together at Del Mar, but may prefer a bit more distance
8ChampaliG. Foley15-1
His Phoenix decision shows he's back at his best; not impossible
9Gold StormC. Cascio20-1
Proved in the Phoenix that he's for real, but this race is much tougher
10Beau's TownC. Norman30-1
If this were July, 2003, he would be much higher up on this list

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.