03/09/2008 11:00PM

Gulfstream: Spring Waltz steps up


HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. - Spring Waltz made the jump from allowance ranks to graded stakes company without breaking a sweat, rallying from off the pace to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Spring Waltz, a 5-year-old daughter of Silver Charm, had won each of her last three starts against optional claiming and allowance company, including a 13-length victory in her Gulfstream debut on Feb. 17.

Spring Waltz dropped back a little farther than usual off the early pace of Peach Flambe during the early stages of the 1 1/8-mile Rampart. Spring Waltz commenced her bid approaching the stretch, came through a narrow opening while briefly bumping the tiring Peach Flambe near the eighth pole, then drew away with complete authority under jockey Javier Castellano.

Tessa Blue, who gained a brief advantage in early stretch, couldn't stay with the winner at the end, but outlasted Golden Velvet by a length to finish second in a field of seven older fillies and mares.

Spring Waltz, a homebred owned by Frank Stronach, covered the distance in 1:49.73 and paid $4.

"Mr. Stronach deserves a lot of the credit for persevering with Spring Waltz after she had several minor issues with her shins as a young horse," said trainer Bryan Lynch.

"I was a little concerned because she was back so far off a slow pace," said Lynch, "but Javier rode her with plenty of confidence and I was very proud of the way she came through the hole like she did."

Lynch said Spring Waltz would likely make her next start at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup on Kentucky Oaks day.