05/21/2004 11:00PM

Lady Tak shows her old spark


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With one allowance win in four races since winning the Grade 1 Test Stakes last July, Lady Tak entered Saturday's $108,600 at Churchill Downs with questionable form.

Consider her back on her game. She won the six-furlong Winning Colors in 1:08.87, winning by three-quarters of a length over multiple stakes winner Put Me In.

Always well placed under jockey Shane Sellers, Lady Tak tracked Surf N Sand in second for the opening quarter-mile, which was run in 21.57 seconds. Cut loose by Sellers on the turn, she opened up a 1 1/2-length lead with a half-mile in 44.01 seconds and maintained a comfortable advantage through the stretch with Sellers tapping her once with the whip.

Put Me In challenged in midstretch after stalking the pace, but proved unable to gain significant ground on the winner. She finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of Ebony Breeze in third.

"I felt somebody on my hip," Sellers said. "I thought maybe [Put Me In] was gonna come get me."

Lady Tak, a winner of 8 of 14 starts, earned $67,322 in winning the inaugural Winning Colors, paying $3 as the favorite. She has earned over $814,000 for the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trainer Steve Asmussen.

* A race earlier, Courageous Act ($10.40) edged the 6-5 favorite, Two Down Automatic, by a neck in the eighth race, an open allowance for 3-year-olds that served as a prep for the Northern Dancer Stakes June 12. He raced a mile in 1:35.75. Pro Prado, the 8-5 second choice, finished a distant fourth in his first start since running 13th in the Kentucky Derby.

* Saturday's card also included an open allowance for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf, a prep for the June 12 Regret Stakes. Jinny's Gold ($6.80) led from start to finish, beating Sister Star by 1 3/4 lengths.