06/11/2003 12:00AM

It's deja vu in Fleur de Lis


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With trainer Ken McPeek announcing Wednesday that Take Charge Lady has been declared out of the prospective lineup, the Fleur de Lis Handicap suddenly has taken on the same kind of look as the race You won earlier at the Churchill Downs meet.

You, the Bobby Frankel-trained standout who was scheduled to arrive Thursday from New York, was an easy winner of the May 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup two starts back. The race fell apart when Take Charge Lady - victimized by a foot bruise that continues to play havoc with her training and racing schedules - was scratched just hours beforehand.

The Grade 2, $300,000 Fleur de Lis is the richest supporting feature on Saturday's Stephen Foster card at Churchill.

"I feel like she's still not 100 percent, so there's no sense in running Saturday," McPeek said Wednesday.

After Take Charge Lady breezed Monday at Churchill, McPeek said he was hoping the filly would be able to run in the Fleur de Lis but that he would have to closely monitor her condition. But after the filly jogged Wednesday morning, McPeek said he would bypass the Fleur de Lis and aim instead for the June 21 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park.

The foot, McPeek said, is "still a bit of a nagging complaint with her."

Take Charge Lady has raced just once this year, finishing a narrowly beaten second to Azeri in the April 5 Apple Blossom. Her defection from the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis leaves You as the 119-pound highweight and, again, the overwhelming favorite. Jerry Bailey, who will ride You again Saturday, was aboard when she beat four overmatched rivals as the 3-10 choice in the Grade 2 Louisville BC.

The most accomplished challengers to You figure to be Printemps, a California shipper for Ron McAnally, and Minister's Baby, trained by McPeek. Other prospective starters are Charmed Gift, Fly Borboleta, and Lead Story.

Good news, bad news for Proud Citizen

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he is glad to have Proud Citizen "back on the surface he likes" at Churchill Downs. But therein lies a hitch: With rain forecast for the Louisville area the entire week, the Churchill surface figures to be highly saturated Saturday for the $750,000 Stephen Foster.

"Son of a gun," said Lukas. "I think he just caught two tracks he didn't care for. Unfortunately, it might be that he won't like this one, either."

Proud Citizen, a 4-year-old colt who last year ran second in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, made his first start in nearly 11 months when he faded to ninth in the Churchill Downs Handicap on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, when the Churchill strip was playing exceptionally fast. In his next start, Proud Citizen was fourth in the May 26 Metropolitan Handicap over a sloppy Belmont track.

The Stephen Foster will be the first two-turn race for Proud Citizen since the colt recovered from surgery following the Belmont Stakes last June. "Two turns is what he needs," said Lukas. "I'm just looking to get him fit and back in form."

Proud Citizen, with Cornelio Velasquez to ride, figures to be no worse than fourth choice behind Mineshaft, Aldebaran, and Perfect Drift in the Stephen Foster. Other projected starters in the 1 1/8-mile race are Full Mandate, Colonial Colony, Consistency, Crafty Shaw, Slider, Unbridled Vision, and Woodmoon.

Looking to be in the money

Woodmoon might appear overmatched in the Stephen Foster, but beware his trainer's record in the race. From three previous starters in the Foster, Niall O'Callaghan has one win (Guided Tour, 2001), one second (Nite Dreamer, 1999), and one third (Classic Seven, 1992).

"Maybe I should've run more horses in it," O'Callaghan said, smiling.

Woodmoon, a winner in six of 23 starts, has been assigned 110 pounds, 13 fewer than Mineshaft, the starting highweight. O'Callaghan concedes that Mineshaft and Aldebaran will be tough to beat, but he said he wouldn't mind picking up another check.

"The operative numbers are $150,000 for second and $75,000 for third," he said.

Foley gunning for a double

Trainer Greg Foley will be seeking back-to-back victories in the races that directly precede the Fleur de Lis and Foster. Foley will have the likely favorite, Champali, in the $100,000 Northern Dancer, then one of the main contenders in Golden Marlin in the $200,000 Regret Stakes.

For Champali, the Northern Dancer will be his first race since he ran second to Midas Eyes in the April 26 Derby Trial. During and Clock Stopper are expected to be his main opposition in the one-mile race.

About 10 3-year-old fillies are expected for the Regret, a Grade 3 race at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

All-stakes pick four has $250,000 guarantee

The four Churchill stakes will be grouped in a pick four wager with a guaranteed pool of $250,000. The all-stakes pick four will comprise races 7-10 on an 11-race Saturday card.

The Foster, along with the Brooklyn Handicap from Belmont and the Leonard Richards from Delaware Park, will be televised live on CBS on a one-hour show that begins at 5 p.m. Eastern. The Foster, with a scheduled 5:44 post, will be the last of the three. Those races also comprise the first National Thoroughbred Racing Association Summer Pick Three of this year.

School bus coming back to town

The yellow school bus that transported the Funny Cide ownership team to Churchill Downs for the May 3 Kentucky Derby will have an unusual encore here June 21.

The bus will be driven on the racetrack before Jack Knowlton and David Mahan, members of the Sackatoga Stable that own the 2003 Derby winner, step off to be presented with the engraved Derby trophy after the sixth race that day.

Knowlton and Mahan will participate in an autograph session before the races and will hang the Funny Cide plaque that will join those honoring the previous 128 Derby winners strung throughout the track property.