10/16/2007 11:00PM

Grade 1 winners aim to rebound

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Two Grade 1 winners who have lost their form get another opportunity for redemption in Friday's $75,000 Storm Flag Flying Stakes at Belmont Park.

Pussycat Doll, who won the Humana Distaff last year and the Santa Monica in January, has dropped her last five starts and comes off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap here on Sept. 22. Swap Fliparoo won the Grade 1 Test in 2006, but has only one victory to her credit since then.

Both Pussycat Doll and Swap Fliparoo do their best running from off the pace. With Baby Bird and Great Intentions entered in this seven-furlong race, there should be plenty of pace to close into.

Pussycat Doll raced pretty close to the pace in the Gallant Bloom after breaking slowly. She made the lead in midstretch, but gave way late to Jazzy.

Trainer Bob Baffert is reuniting Pussycat Doll with Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for both of her Grade 1 victories.

"She needs to come from off the pace, that's they only way she can be effective," Baffert said. "If the old Pussycat Doll shows up that's the whole key."

This could be the final race of Pussycat Doll's career as she is cataloged to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale on Nov. 4.

Trained by Allen Jerkens, Swap Fliparoo is coming off a third-place finish in the Beautiful Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 26, a race won by the Grade 1 winner Pool Land. Swap Fliparoo is winless in 12 starts at Belmont, with 5 second-place and 3 third-place finishes. Jean-Luc Samyn has the call from post 3.

Jerkens is also running Cindy's Mom, a daughter of A.P. Indy who finished a late-running second to Windy in a second-level allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 20.

Baby Bird, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is 4 for 4 at Belmont and beat Windy in a third-level allowance race here on Sept. 14, her first start of the year. While Baby Bird won that race on the lead, she has been effective from slightly off the pace as well.

Great Intentions finished fourth in the Gallant Bloom after setting the pace. That was her first start since Feb. 17, but her trainer, Mike Hushion, didn't think she was in need of a race entering that one.

"She had a lot of good works," Hushion said. "Sometimes you run them back and that's all it takes."

Veneti, beaten a neck in a restricted sprint stakes here in June, completes the field.