Updated on 09/15/2011 2:12PM

Countdown to the Cup: Juvenile Fillies (10/11)


With a pair of third-place finishes from three Breeders' Cup starters, trainer Ken McPeek has had a hint of success on racing's championship day.

"I tasted the wine and I want the whole bottle," said McPeek, who finished third in the 1994 Juvenile with Tejano Run and third in last year's Juvenile Fillies with She's a Devil Due.

McPeek believes Take Charge Lady can help him pop the cork in this year's Juvenile Fillies. Her one-length victory in last week's Walmac International Alcibiades at Keeneland makes Take Charge Lady 3 for 3 and one of the major contenders in the race.

"I think I got an excellent chance to win the filly race," McPeek said. "Other than You, I have no fear."

You established herself as the East Coast's top juvenile filly with her 6 1/4-length victory over Cashier's Dream in last Saturday's Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont. Habibti, the top seed out West, has resumed training after having to miss the Norfolk because of a virus.

After winning her maiden in April at Keeneland, Take Charge Lady had sore shins and was sidelined for several months. She returned in September to win an entry-level allowance race at Turfway Park. Friday, under Tony D'Amico, she received a perfect stalking trip and outkicked Never Out to the wire. While her final time of 1:46.23 was unimpressive, McPeek believes there's a reason for that.

"Do you realize how slow that track was opening day?" McPeek said. "It was slow and deep; there wasn't any water on it. Then it rained that night and it tightened up overnight. Her time looks like she beat nothing, but it was a very, very good race. She overcame a deep, tiring racetrack."

A year ago, McPeek won the Alcibiades with She's a Devil Due, who also came into the Juvenile Fillies unbeaten. She finished third after encountering a tough trip from post 11 in the 12-horse field.

"This filly is a much better horse than She's a Devil Due, no comparison," said McPeek said, who added his filly would do the bulk of her training in Kentucky before shipping to New York the week of the Breeders' Cup.

The Juvenile Fillies could come up light in numbers when pre-entries are taken Monday. Others expected to go are Tempera, Imperial Gesture, Never Out, and Bella Bellucci.

Cunning Play, who finished third in the Alcibiades, may instead go in the Pocahontas at Churchill on Nov. 3. Joanies Bella, a winner of the Bassinet, Arlington Washington Lassie, and Best of Ohio Juvenile Fillies, would have to be supplemented for a fee of $200,000. Trainer Tim Hamm said a decision would be made by the end of the week.

Barry Irwin confirmed Wednesday that Spinaway winner Cashier's Dream would not be supplemented to the Juvenile Fillies. She will not race again this year.