Distaff Winner Round Pond Nears Return to Competition

Round Pond, winner of the 2006 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), could return to competition in March at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again breezed three furlongs in :38 on Jan. 7 at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. It was her first work since the Breeders’ Cup.

“I think the first two races we have on the schedule are the Rampart Handicap (gr. II, March 11 at Gulfstream) and, possibly, the Apple Blossom (gr. I, April 7 at Oaklawn Park),” Round Pond’s trainer Michael Matz said. “Then, we’ll see where we’re at. We have some other races lined up for her, but whether she can do all of them, that’s another story. Hopefully, she can have a championship season.”

Matz told Daily Racing Form it was possible Round Pond could return in a grass race.

Round Pond is a finalist for a 2006 Eclipse Award as outstanding older filly or mare, and she was a finalist in 2005 for the Eclipse for outstanding 3-year-old filly. Round Pond captured three of her five races last year. Her efforts in addition to her Distaff win included a victory in the Azeri Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III), a second in the Molly Pitcher Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II), and a third in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I), which was won by another 2006 Eclipse finalist, Fleet Indian. Matz took over Round Pond’s care from trainer John Servis following her Azeri win in March. In 2005, Round Pond scored in the Acorn (gr. I), Fantasy (gr. II), and Honeybee Stakes.

“This mare has had a chance to be champion the last two seasons, Matz said. “There is an argument she should have been champion 3-year-old (instead of Smuggler), and there would have been a chance she could have been the champion (for 2006) if Fleet Indian had finished the Distaff (instead of being pulled up).”