Fox Hill Farm’s 2006 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Round Pond makes her return to competition in Sunday’s $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park with jockey Edgar Prado back aboard for trainer Michael Matz. She faces just five rival fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile test.
A 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again , Round Pond makes her first start since romping home a 5 1/2-length winner of the Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 with Prado aboard. Round Pond was developed and trained by John Servis until last spring, winning the Azeri Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park one year ago.
Transferred to Matz, Round Pond missed most of the summer until returning with a photo-finish second-place in the Molly Pitcher Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) at Monmouth Park in late August. Her performance when third in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park was not inspiring, but she was on her game on Breeders’ Cup Day to post an upset at odds of 14-1. She carries top weight of 122 pounds for her comeback race.
Trainer Allen Jerkens, enjoying a strong Gulfstream meet in stakes with fillies and mares, plans to double-team Round Pond in the Rampart with Hobeau Farm’s uncoupled entry of Swap Fliparoo and Miss Shop.
Swap Fliparoo, to be ridden by Javier Castellano, is a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Exchange Rate . She stretches out for the Rampart after a runner-up effort in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint on Jan. 27 and a 6 1/4-length domination of the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) going a one-turn mile last out on Feb. 17. The roan/gray filly scored her biggest victory in the Test Stakes (gr. I) last summer at Saratoga.
Miss Shop, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, is a versatile 4-year-old homebred daughter of Deputy Minister who gets back to the main track after making her last three starts on turf, including a victory in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf. Among her good efforts on the main track last year in New York, Miss Shop finished third in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont in September and captured the Turnback The Alarm Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.
$200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II, Race 7, 3:54 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Miss Shop (FL), 116, Rafael Bejarano
2. Classy Charm (KY), 115, Kent J. Desormeaux
3. Prop Me Up (FL), 113, Joe Bravo
4. Round Pond (KY), 122, Edgar S. Prado
5. Swap Fliparoo (FL), 117, Javier Castellano
6. Tiger Belle (FL), 112, Manoel R. Cruz