Updated on 09/16/2011 7:22AM

Take Charge Lady will pass


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Take Charge Lady, who figured as an overwhelming favorite Friday in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico, was scratched from the race early Tuesday after being diagnosed with a lung infection.

Take Charge Lady worked a sharp three furlongs in 35 seconds Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. Afterward, she was given an endoscopic examination, and it was determined that she "had pretty much mucous" in her lungs, said trainer Ken McPeek.

"Before you put a horse on a plane and spend all that money, it's usually wise to go ahead and look them over real carefully," said McPeek.

McPeek said he was not surprised that Take Charge Lady, owned by the Select Stable of Jerry and Feye Bach, worked so well. The rigorous exercise, though, "bumps up the infection," he said. "There's no way we can run after what we found."

Take Charge Lady has established herself as perhaps the top 3-year-old filly in North America, having finished second as the favorite in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks after winning three straight stakes to open her season.

McPeek said he hopes Take Charge Lady will recover sufficiently to make her next start May 25 in the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race at Churchill.

The defection of Take Charge Lady leaves a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 2, $200,000 Black- Eyed Susan.

Long trips for horse and rider

With an expected field of 13 in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, some horses figure to have rough trips. But none could have a tougher trip than Menacing Dennis, or his exercise rider, Salvador Muniz, who made Herculean efforts to get to Baltimore.

Menacing Dennis had his travel delayed last Thursday, then again on Saturday, and when he finally flew from California on Monday, his flight was delayed again. He was scheduled to get in on Monday afternoon, but did not arrive until 9 p.m.

Muniz, who works for trainer Jeff Bonde in California, did not make the trip with Menacing Dennis. Instead, he drove, beginning at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

"You don't get me on no plane," said Muniz, who said it took him 3 1/2 days to drive across the country. He arrived in Baltimore at 1 a.m. Tuesday. A few hours later, he was tending to Menacing Dennis, but he looked a little worn out. "I am tired," he said.

Quick visit for McGurn

Craig McGurn never rode in the Kentucky Derby, nor the Breeders' Cup, while working as a jockey from 1980 until last fall. But since retiring as a jockey, and going to work as an exercise rider for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, McGurn's profile has risen.

On Tuesday morning, he worked U S S Tinosa at Pimlico, the first time McGurn had ever visited the track.

"I've got to get some souvenirs," he said. McGurn was in a hurry. He arrived in Baltimore on Monday night, worked U S S Tinosa the next morning, and was scheduled to fly back to Oakland, Calif., at noon Tuesday.

"It's fun being in a stable like this," McGurn said of working for Hollendorfer, the perennial training leader in northern California. "I love it. It's still fun for me."

* Snow Dance, who was a possible starter in Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000 Gallorette Handicap, will bypass that race and instead head to California for the Grade 1, $500,000 Gamely Handicap on May 27, trainer John T. Ward Jr. said.

* Friday's card, in addition to the Black-Eyed Susan and the Pimlico Distaff, will feature the Joe Aitcheson Stakes, a steeplechase event in which McDynamo will seek his fourth consecutive victory. McDynamo, who used to race on the flat, is unbeaten since switching to the jumps. He is trained by Sanna Neilson.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman