Updated on 09/17/2011 10:03AM

'Freak' Lady Tak stays unbeaten in Oaks

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Lady Tak ($4.60) wins Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Oaks at Fair Grounds by 3 1/2 lengths under Donnie Meche.

NEW ORLEANS - Ten minutes after the , Jockey Donnie Meche struggled for exactly the right words to describe Lady Tak's performance. Finally, he gave in to his gut reaction.

"She's just - she's just a freak," Meche said.

Making her first start beyond a mile and completely changing her speedy style in the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaks, Lady Tak ran past the high-quality pair of Atlantic Ocean and Belle of Perintown like they were standing still. Third on the far turn, Lady Tak dragged Meche to the lead coming into the stretch and flew home, beating Atlantic Ocean by 3 1/2 lengths.

Meche never used his whip, but Lady Tak ran very fast, 1:44.36 for 1 1/16 miles. The favorite, Lady Tak paid $4.60 to win and remained undefeated in five starts. Belle of Perintown was third, followed by Rebridled Dreams, Lovely Sage, and Afternoon Dreams.

This was the big test for Lady Tak, who was purchased for only $7,500 as a yearling but re-sold seven months later for 10 times that price to Heiligbrodt Racing Stable after trainer Steve Asmussen watched her work fast at a 2-year-old in training sale. A smallish chestnut filly, Lady Tak doesn't look flashy, but she can fly. She easily won sprint races in her first three starts, showing great early speed, and was close to the pace when she won the one-mile Tiffany Lass here Jan. 26 in her first route start.

The Oaks was completely different. Lady Tak broke well but quickly dropped several lengths behind Rebridled Dreams's slow 24.24-second opening quarter-mile and 48.17-second half. Lady Tak remained in fourth coming into the far turn, when Meche got some unbidden advice.

"One of the riders - I think it was Calvin [Borel] - said, 'You better go, they're crawling up there,' " Meche said.

Lady Tak needed no encouragement. "She was just about pulling me out of the saddle in the middle of the turn," said Meche. "It's going to take a real fast horse to outsprint her in the stretch."

Asmussen said he was "a little worried" when Lady Tak was so far behind the early pace. But his concern quickly gave way to exuberance.

"You talk about getting one to relax, but you can only do it when you have one that is this good," Asmussen said.

Asmussen said Lady Tak would have been pointed to sprint stakes had she failed to get the distance of the Oaks. Now, she will be pointed to the Ashland Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks, Asmussen said.