Venezuelan star Bambera, who is expected to take on undefeated Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom Invitational (gr. I) next month, adds intrigue to the field of eight fillies and mares selected for the $150,000 Rampart Stakes (gr. III) March 20 at Gulfstream Park.
A nine-furlong contest the on the main track, the Rampart also drew Chiefswood Stable’s Aurora Lights, winner of the Sabin Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 27, and Alex Brodsky’s Don't Forget Gil, who drew clear for a decisive victory in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last out on the same day. The Rampart is the second of five graded stakes on a Gulfstream program highlighted by the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I)
A winner of 15 of 17 starts in her native Venezuela and most recently capturing the Clasico del Caribe in Puerto Rico Dec. 6, Bambera’s regular rider Edgar Perez will be on hand to ride the daughter of Water Poet for Calder-based trainer Pablo Andrade, who has taken over for Venezuelan conditioner Gustavo Delgado.
Bambera, a 4-year-old bay filly, was named the 2009 Horse of the Year in Venezuela after winning all 13 of her starts there. She shipped to the states earlier this year and has been working steadily at Calder and Gulfstream for her U.S. debut. She will break from the inside post while carrying 121 pounds, more than she has in any race thus far.
Bambera was nominated to the April 9 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park.
Aurora Lights, from the barn of Eric Coatrieux and to be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, is a two-time graded stakes winner. The 4-year-old daughter of Pulpit also won Woodbine’s Selene Stakes (Can-III) last year. She will stretch out to nine furlongs for the first time.
Don’t Forget Gil won the Florida Oaks (gr. III) in 2009 and was also runner-up by a neck in the grade I Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont last summer. The Kafwain filly made an impressive 4-year-old debut in the Feb. 27 Wayward Lass when stalking the pace and pulling away for a 2 1/2-length score. Ramon Dominguez picks up the mount for Mark Hennig.
$150,000 Rampart Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:42 p.m. EST), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Bambera (VEN), E Perez, 121, P Andrade
2. Don't Forget Gil (NY), R A Dominguez, 121, M A Hennig
3. Miss Match (ARG), A Garcia, 117, M R Matz
4. Aurora Lights (KY), C H Velasquez, 121, E Coatrieux
5. Even Road (FL), M R Cruz, 117, S M Ersoff
6. Miss Singhsix (IRE), J R Leparoux, 117, M D Wolfson
7. Champagne Eyes (KY), J Castellano, 117, M D Wolfson
8. Unrivaled Belle (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, W I Mott