06/16/2007 12:00AM

Take D' Tour repeats in Phipps


ELMONT, N.Y. - Take D' Tour successfully defended her Grade 1 Ogden Phipps title on Saturday at Belmont Park, winning a speed duel with Teammate early, then holding off a late charge from Ginger Punch to win the $300,000 race by a neck.

Ginger Punch, whose late rally fell just short, finished second by 8 1/4 lengths over Promenade Girl. Miss Shop, Bushfire, and Teammate completed the order of finish.

In winning the Phipps for the second consecutive year, Take D' Tour joined Sightseek (2003-04) and Heatherten (1985-86) as the only mares to win this race in consecutive years. Like Heatherten, Take D' Tour did it as a 5- and 6-year-old.

Also, the $180,000 first-place purse pushed Take D' Tour's lifetime earnings to $1,032,740 for owner-breeders Alice and Paul Muller. She is trained by the Calder-based David Fawkes.

Making her first start since finishing second in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn on April 7, Take D' Tour was outsprinted by Teammate for the early lead. But after Teammate ran an opening quarter in 23.07 seconds, Take D' Tour came right up alongside her and the two ran together through a half-mile in 44.97 seconds and three quarters in 1:09.24.

Take D' Tour put away Teammate approaching the quarter pole and she came into the stretch with a five-length lead. As Take D' Tour began to weaken, Ginger Punch, under David Flores, came with a prolonged rally, but one that fell just short. Take D' Tour covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.39 and returned $4.10 to win as the favorite.

"She was going easy the first eighth of a mile, then Eibar said that as soon as she got eyeball to eyeball with [Teammate], they both went,'' Fawkes said. "Once she shook off that filly, she had a little opportunity to get a breather. She had a little kick left at the end.''

As part of a campaign designed to space her races farther apart in order to have a fresh horse for the fall, Take D' Tour most likely will make her next start in the $300,000 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park on Aug. 25.