Updated on 09/16/2011 7:57AM

Take Charge Lady intimidates 'em


NEW ORLEANS - certainly doesn't have a respect problem in New Orleans. Her 8 1/2-length win three weeks ago at Fair Grounds in the Silverbulletday Stakes left an indelible impression on the trainers of horses who, somewhat reluctantly, return Saturday to challenge her in the Fair Grounds Oaks.

"I put her in there with the top three or four fillies anywhere," said Neil Howard.

"Awesome," said Niall O'Callaghan.

"I can tell you that I don't have anything to go out and run 1:42," said Steve Asmussen.

Take Charge Lady ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.09 when she won the Grade 3 Silverbulletday, .07 seconds slower than the fastest time ever recorded here at the distance. Her Beyer Speed figure of 109 is the highest route figure given to a 3-year-old of either sex this year.

Left in Take Charge Lady's wake were the Howard-trained Charmed Gift, the O'Callaghan-trained Chamrousse, and the Asmussen-trained Lake Lady, who finished second, third, and fourth, respectively. Those three join four new faces in the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaks, which also is run at 1 1/16 miles.

Take Charge Lady trains at Gulfstream Park with Ken McPeek, and three days after her Silverbulletday win she flew back to Florida. Thursday, she and her stablemate, Repent, both of whom are owned by the Select Stable, returned to Fair Grounds. Repent will be a heavy favorite in Sunday's Louisiana Derby.

Tony D'Amico regains the mount on Take Charge Lady from Jon Court, who rode the filly last time when D'Amico had a call on Harlan's Holiday in the Fountain of Youth. D'Amico has since been replaced on both Harlan's Holiday and Repent.

On paper, there's little to stop the Oaks from playing out similarly to the Silverbulletday, where Take Charge Lady controlled the early pace and ran a faster third-quarter than opening quarter.

"She doesn't need the lead," said McPeek, who has no reservations about shuttling Take Charge Lady back and forth between Florida and Louisiana.

Lake Lady, the Silverbulletday favorite, made a run at Take Charge Lady last time, but Asmussen is not eager to press again. "We paid the price," he said.

Chamrousse, who made her two-turn debut in the Silverbulletday, has a license to improve but has nine lengths to make up on Take Charge Lady.

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