12/28/2006 1:00AM

Hard to stop Take D' Tour


MIAMI - Take D' Tour had won a Grade 1 race and held her own with the best of the filly and mare handicap division for much of the summer. But until she rallied to a 3 3/4-length victory in the restricted Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap on Nov. 11, she'd never won a race around two turns or from off the pace.

Now that she's shown a measure of versatility, and with her inherent class edge never in question, Take D' Tour figures to be doubly tough in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder. A 1 1/16-mile race, the Stage Door Betty highlights the Grand Slam III program, which includes three other stakes.

About the only thing that can prevent Take D' Tour from posting her sixth win in 10 starts this season would be the weight. She will carry top weight of 124 pounds, including jockey Eibar Coa, while conceding from seven to 10 pounds to her six rivals.

Take D' Tour's resume this year includes 5 1/2-length victories in both the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and Grade 2 Shuvee handicaps and a second in the Grade 1 Ruffian. She has continued to train superbly since the Stage Door Betty.

"She's doing great," said trainer David Fawkes. "We didn't plan on taking her back in her last race, but she rated kindly and Eibar didn't have to fight her. I still think she wants to be forwardly placed in her races, but she's proven now she doesn't need to be on the lead."

Take D' Tour will have no problem making the lead in the Stage Door Betty if she desires, breaking from post 1, but she figures to take back off the speed of both Running Lass and Sea Siren.

Running Lass led during the early stages of the Heubeck but proved no match for Take D' Tour when challenged and finished a tiring third. She has bounced back to win the Stormin Frolic Stakes for 3-year-olds and finish second behind Mocita in the Sonic Gray.

Sea Siren led throughout to upset the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Handicap on Sept. 2, but then finished fifth last month in the Grade 2 Fall City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Three stretch runners should be coming strongly at the end: Cursora, who was third in the Fall City, and local hopefuls Potra Clasica and Tiger Belle.