Updated on 09/16/2011 7:58AM

No one near Take Charge Lady

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Harold Roth/Horsephotos
Take Charge Lady, under Tony D'Amico, cruises to a five-length victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks.

NEW ORLEANS - Put it in the same category as night following day and the sun rising. Take Charge Lady, repeating her easy win three weeks ago in the Silverbulletday Stakes, scored a five-length win Saturday in the Grade 2, $350,000 .

The race played out exactly as it appeared on paper. With no other horse capable of matching her early speed, Take Charge Lady ($3) assumed command of the race from the start and never was seriously threatened. Her time for 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy racetrack was fast, 1:43.30, but not close to the 1:42.09 she ran winning the Silverbulletday over a fast track in a near-track record.

As dominant as she was, Take Charge Lady's win came under highly favorable circumstances. The Fair Grounds track surface generally promotes early speed when it's wet, and Take Charge Lady was able to control the early pace while exerting little energy.

"I lost any worry when they went 24 [seconds] for the first quarter," said trainer Ken McPeek.

Take Charge Lady's Oaks win could launch a big weekend here for McPeek, since Repent was expected to be heavily favored Sunday in the Louisiana Derby. For jockey Tony D'Amico, the winning rider, the Oaks provided a small measure of consolation. D'Amico recently lost the mount on both of McPeek's Kentucky Derby hopefuls, Repent and Harlan's Holiday, and when he stayed in Florida to ride Harlan's Holiday in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, Jon Court rode Take Charge Lady to victory in the Silverbulletday. McPeek, showing a measure of loyalty, put D'Amico back on Take Charge Lady for Saturday's race.

D'Amico, by his own admission, did little more than keep his seat in the saddle. "I was really just a passenger," he said. D'Amico did throttle down Take Charge Lady's early speed, and though Chamrousse tried to press her early, Take Charge Lady opened a clear lead on the backstretch.

"I just asked her at the head of the lane," D'Amico said. "I gave her a tap just to keep her mind on her business."

Lake Lady, improving on her fourth-place finish in the Silverbulletday, finished second, with Chamrousse another two lengths back in third.

McPeek said Take Charge Lady was "80 or 90 percent" likely to make her next start in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. The filly also will be kept eligible for the Arkansas Derby, which McPeek would use as a secondary alternative to the Ashland.