06/08/2003 11:00PM

Two 'name' horses try to regain the limelight


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Each made a name for himself during the Triple Crown last year, then faded from view. Just more than a year later, Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift can reenter the racing consciousness Saturday in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, a Grade 1 race that in recent years has become the highlight of the post-Kentucky Derby segment of the Churchill Downs spring meet.

The solid favorites for the 1 1/8-mile Foster are Mineshaft, who was scheduled for his final pre-race workout here Tuesday, and Aldebaran, the Bobby Frankel-trained star who is scheduled to arrive by plane Thursday from New York. But beyond them, the prospective cast is led by Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift, the two-three finishers behind War Emblem in the 2002 Derby.

Proud Citizen, who has raced twice in recent weeks following a long layoff for surgery last July, prepped for the Foster with a five-furlong work in 59.20 seconds Monday at Churchill. Perfect Drift, a gelding who has won twice since the Triple Crown series last year, worked Saturday at the Trackside training center, going a half-mile in 48.60 seconds.

Proud Citizen, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, most recently finished fourth behind Aldebaran in the May 26 Met Mile. Lukas has said he is pleased with how Proud Citizen has progressed since his layoff.

Perfect Drift, trained by Murray Johnson, also was fourth in a Grade 1 in his last start, the Woodford Reserve on the May 3 Kentucky Derby undercard. Before that, Perfect Drift won a turf allowance at Keeneland in his seasonal debut.

Weights for the Foster were released Sunday, with Mineshaft assigned 123 pounds, three more than Aldebaran. Among the horses likely to run, Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift are next at 115.

At least five other horses are probable: Colonial Colony, 112; Crafty Shaw, 112; Slider, 112; Woodmoon, 110; and Unbridled Vision, 110.

Two others are being considering for the race: Full Mandate, 113, and Consistency, 112.

Take Charge Lady works

Take Charge Lady, who figures as a slight favorite over the Frankel-trained Sightseek in Saturday's $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap, breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Monday under regular rider Shane Sellers.

Trainer Ken McPeek said afterward that he is still a little concerned about a bruised foot that has prevented Take Charge Lady from racing since her narrow defeat to Azeri in the April 5 Apple Blossom.

"We'll test the foot the next couple of days and go from there," said McPeek. "I may not make a decision on whether to run until the morning of the race."

If Take Charge Lady does not race Saturday, she could run in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 21 at Belmont Park, McPeek said.

Take Charge Lady would be the starting highweight in the Fleur de Lis at 119 pounds. Azeri, who was nominated but will not run, was assigned 128.

Sightseek, winner of the Grade 1, seven-furlong Humana Distaff on Derby Day, will carry 118. Other probable starters include Printemps, 114; Enjoy, 114; Minister's Baby, 114; Charmed Gift, 112; Fly Borboleta, 111; and Lead Story, 110.

Besides Azeri, one other California filly who will not be here is Bare Necessities (118), winner of the Sixty Sails at Hawthorne in her last start. Trainer Wally Dollase canceled plans to put her on a Tuesday charter flight.

Reinstedler set to fire two shots in Regret

Trainer Tony Reinstedler appears to hold a strong hand in Saturday's $200,000 Regret Stakes, a Grade 3 turf race at 1 1/8 miles. Reinstedler plans to run the Willmott Stables entry of Sands Springs, a two-time winner at the meet, and Aud, a sharp winner of a recent allowance.

Golden Marlin, winner of the May 17 Dogwood Stakes on dirt, and Personal Legend, a recent purchase by Frankel on behalf of Edmund Gann, also are confirmed for the Regret, which is expected to get a large field of 3-year-old fillies.

Champali heads Northern Dancer probables

Champali, unraced since finishing second to Midas Eyes in the April 26 Derby Trial, is the dominant runner expected for Saturday's $100,000 Northern Dancer Handicap.

Champali, trained by Greg Foley, worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:00.20. "He's acted awfully good here the past week," said Foley.

During, trained by Bob Baffert, and five or six more 3-year-olds are expected to face Champali in the one-mile race.