03/11/2007 12:00AM

Miss Shop impressive off short rest

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Allen Jerkens, in the midst of a terrific meet, added another notch to his belt this time at the expense of Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Round Pond when Miss Shop drew off to an impressive 6 3/4 length victory in Sunday’s $200,000 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Round Pond, making her first start since her easy victory in the BC Distaff four months earlier, finished a tiring and badly beaten fourth as the 2-5 favorite after taking a futile run at the leaders around the second turn.

“We had a few problems with her coming in,” explained trainer Michael Matz. “She tied up on Wednesday and I thought about scratching her but we took a blood Saturday and the results were good. Edgar said she was galloping along good but when he asked for her kick she didn’t have it. I guess her muscles were just still too fatigued from had happened earlier in the week. She appeared to come back fine, we got a race into her and if all goes well we’ll stick to our original plan and go on to the Apple Blossom next month at Oaklawn.”

Miss Shop, a daughter of Deputy Minister, came into the Grade 2 Rampart on just one week’s rest having finished a non-threatening fifth in the grassy Honey Fox Handicap here last Sunday. A versatile sort equally adept on dirt as on turf, Miss Shop sat a perfect trip tracking the early leaders while saving ground under jockey Rafael Bejarano, found ample room to launch her bid along the rail entering the stretch and readily drew off from the pace setting Prop Me Up.

Prop Me Up contested the pace while lapped on Classy Charm before gaining command after five furlongs. She repulsed bids from Swap Fliperoo and Round Pond approaching the stretch but proved no match for the winner while finishing a length in front of Swap Fliparoo, Miss Shop’s uncoupled stablemate for second.

Miss Shop paid $11.40 to win and $14.80 to show. Second and third place finishers Prop Me Up and Swap Fliparoo returned $24.00 and $11.20 to show respectively. A total of $74,885 of a total show pool of $87,798 was wagered on Round Pond.

“I thought about scratching her but then decided that in case our other horse (Swap Flilparoo) couldn’t go a mile and one eighth I knew she could,” said Jerkens. “I probably wasn’t going to run Miss Shop again before Belmont so she was going to have plenty of rest after coming back in one week.”