04/11/2006 11:00PM

Mare back vs. similar after romp


Fresh off a four-length wire-to-wire victory on March 30, Take D' Tour looks tough to beat coming back off short rest in Friday's fourth race at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by David Fawkes, Take D' Tour is actually dropping slightly in class from her blowout victory 15 days earlier. The conditions that day were for three-other-than allowance horses with a claiming option of $250,000. Friday's race is at the same allowance condition with a claiming option of $60,000.

Last time out, Take D' Tour had to face Balletto, winner of the Grade 1 Frizette in October of 2004 and runner-up that year in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Balletto went off as the even-money favorite against Take D' Tour, but there is no rival with credentials like Balletto's taking on Take D' Tour on Friday.

But then Balletto was making her first start in 17 months on March 30, and, as it turned out, she was obviously nowhere near her best, running a dull fourth of six entrants, beaten 14 1/2 lengths.

Take D' Tour's main challenger on Friday, R Lady Joy, comes in with a similar profile - strong credentials and a long layoff.

R Lady Joy earned $565,436 last year, more than five times the sum the 5-year-old Take D' Tour has earned in her 13 lifetime starts.

Last year at age 3, R Lady Joy won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, and ran second in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico and third in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga.

But R Lady Joy ended her season running out of the money at 8-5 in the Indiana BC Oaks at Hoosier Park on Sept. 30, and who knows how she will perform on Friday.

Trained by Kirk Ziadie, R Lady Joy has worked steadily at Tampa Bay Downs for her 2006 debut, with four timed works since March 11, two of them bullets.

Another unknown piece in the six-horse race is Special Report, who, like R Lady Joy, has strong earnings ($209,845). She also ran second late last year in two ungraded six-figure stakes. But she has been away since Jan. 28, when she ran up the track at 13-1 in the Sunshine Millions Distaff.