10/07/2004 11:00PM

Lady Tak seeks first win over track


ELMONT, N.Y. - Lady Tak, a two-time Grade 1 winner, towers over her six rivals in Sunday's $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.

, the 122-pound highweight in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, is coming off a win in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga on Aug. 29. The Ballerina pushed Lady Tak's earnings over $1 million and was her second Grade 1 win at Saratoga, following her victory in the Test Stakes in 2003.

In the 6 1/2-furlong Gallant Bloom, Lady Tak will seek her first win at Belmont. She finished second in two Grade 1's last year at Belmont, the Acorn and Gazelle.

Scott Blasi, an assistant to Lady Tak's trainer, Steve Asmussen, said the filly thrives at Belmont.

"She does awfully good at Belmont in her training," Blasi said. "I've been pleasantly surprised with her works here. I think going six to seven furlongs, she is as good as any horse in the country."

Lady Tak, a front-runner, will be ridden by John Velazquez from the outside post.

The pace figures to be sizzling. Forest Music and Molto Vita should ensure that Lady Tak doesn't spurt away to an easy lead.

would benefit from a speed duel and is in top form for trainer Bill Mott. Ebony Breeze came from off the pace to win the Grade 3 Endine at Delaware Park on Sept. 11. She ran competitively against Lady Tak in the Winning Colors at Churchill Downs on May 22. Ebony Breeze finished third, two lengths behind Lady Tak, who won the race.

Cornelio Velasquez rides Ebony Breeze from the rail.

won the 6 1/2-furlong Ellis Park Breeders' Cup on Aug. 14. Fifteen days later, she finished fourth in the Ballerina, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. The Ballerina might have been too quick back off a tough race at Ellis.

, a horse for the course, returns to the races for the first time since winning an optional claimer at Belmont on June 23. Not long after that race, Zawzooth stepped on a screw and suffered a serious infection that traveled to her pastern.

"It was a millimeter from being career-ending," said Zawzooth's trainer, Todd Pletcher, who won this race last year with Harmony Lodge.

Class Above, a 3-year-old, turns back in distance after three losses in stakes longer than a mile.

"We're backing up here, and maybe that's what she wants to do," said Kiaran McLaughlin, Class Above's trainer.