11/27/2003 1:00AM

Lead Story tops $219 Nafzger exacta


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Lead Story led a one-two sweep for trainer Carl Nafzger, drawing off for a surprisingly easy victory Thursday in the $334,200 Falls City Handicap, a Grade 2 race that marked the career finale for Take Charge Lady, who labored home a well-beaten fifth in the Churchill Downs fixture.

Over a sloppy track, Lead Story finished 6 1/2 lengths ahead of second-place stablemate Mayo on the Side, who had another six lengths on late-running Cloakof Vagueness. Misty Sixes narrowly beat Take Charge Lady, the 3-5 favorite, for fourth.

Lead Story, owned by A. Stevens Miles and ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $22.20 after running the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.23. It was her second straight upset, following a 35-1 shocker in the Nov. 8 Churchill Downs Distaff. The all-Nafzger exacta returned $219.20.

"This is an honest filly," said Borel. "I can't understand why she doesn't get more respect."

Mayo on the Side, a 20-1 shot, led through fractions of 47.86 seconds and 1:12.61, putting away Take Charge Lady in the process. But after drawing clear late in the final turn, she was no match for Lead Story, who saved ground while racing in seventh, then continued her winning bid while close to the rail.

"I could've gone outside, but it didn't matter," said Borel.

Lead Story, a 4-year-old filly by Editor's Note, now has won 7 of 29 starts and over $600,000.

Take Charge Lady, a 4-year-old filly who earned over $2.4 million from 22 starts, will be retired. "It's time," said her trainer, Ken McPeek.

Awesome Humor was an early scratch, leaving a field of nine fillies and mares.

* A race earlier, Sir Cherokee ($4.80), ridden by Terry Thompson, rallied to win a one-mile allowance that was moved from the turf to the main track. Sir Cherokee was making his first start since winning the April 12 Arkansas Derby at 55-1.

"That's a monkey off my back," said trainer Mike Tomlinson. "He'll run next at Gulfstream or Fair Grounds."