04/09/2002 11:00PM

Fantasy come true for two fillies


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The nightmare ends Friday for Lake Lady and Chamrousse. There is no Take Charge Lady to chase in the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park, something of a dream come true for those two, who have been left in the wake of the East's top 3-year-old filly in their last two starts.

The Fantasy is Lake Lady and Chamrousse's chance to run to the promise both showed before running into Take Charge Lady. The 1 1/16-mile Fantasy, a Grade 2, $200,000 race, has also drawn Fun House, who ships in from California for trainer Ron McAnally, and See How She Runs, who is unbeaten in three career starts for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Lake Lady was the belle of the ball at Fair Grounds in New Orleans this winter before the arrival of Take Charge Lady. She had won four straight races going into the track's Grade 3 Silverbulletday, and as a result was favored in that race over Take Charge Lady.

Take Charge Lady won like a speeding bullet that afternoon, with Lake Lady finishing fourth after racing in second most of the way. "We took out after Take Charge Lady without realizing who she was," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Lake Lady. "Nobody did."

Asmussen changed tactics for the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, and Lake Lady ran an improved race from off the pace, finishing second, beaten five lengths by Take Charge Lady. She has since trained well for the Fantasy, and is the one to beat under Donnie Meche.

"She has a tremendous amount of ability," Asmussen said of Lake Lady, who won an entry-level allowance by 11 1/4 lengths last year at Churchill Downs before taking both the $75,000 Thelma and $100,000 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds.

Chamrousse finished third in the Silverbulletday and third in the Fair Grounds Oaks, showing improvement with each start. Unlike the more seasoned Lake Lady, she has never won around two turns, with both of her career wins coming at six furlongs.

Distance seems to be the biggest question facing the talented Chamrousse. "It's always an issue until you do it," trainer Niall O'Callaghan said of winning around two turns. "But at this point, it's not necessarily a concern. "

Chamrousse, who is by Peaks and Valleys, has worked well for the Fantasy, and will be ridden by Jorge Chavez.

Chris McCarron will ride Fun House, who will be making her first two-turn start Friday after two good efforts in turf sprints at Santa Anita. In her last race, she finished second in the $113,000 La Habra.

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