04/08/2007 11:00PM

Round Pond retired due to knee injury


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Round Pond, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff in November, came out of her third-place finish in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Saturday with a slab fracture to her left knee and has been retired, her owner, Rick Porter, said on Monday.

The fracture is non-displaced, said Porter.

Round Pond, 5, flew from Oaklawn to Keeneland on Monday morning, and remains in the care of her trainer, Michael Matz. Porter said X-rays of her knee are being forwarded to Dr. Larry Bramlage, and it has yet to be determined whether Round Pond will need surgery.

"He's going to call me and tell me whether we need to put a screw in there, or whatever he might suggest," said Porter. "Whatever he says is what I'm going to do."

Porter said plans are to breed Round Pond, but whether it is this season or next depends on the course of action recommended by Bramlage. He said his leading stallion choices would be A.P. Indy or Storm Cat.

Round Pond's 5 1/2-length win in the Distaff, as well as her victories in the Grade 1 Acorn and the Grade 3 Azeri, were among Porter's favorite races from the filly. She retires with 7 wins from 13 starts and earnings of $1,998,700. Round Pond's victories in the Acorn, Azeri, and the Grade 2 Fantasy came while she was trained by John Servis.

"Her win in the Acorn was just an unbelievable last few 100 yards, where she blew by those horses when I didn't think she was going to make it," said Porter. "Then, of course, there was the bang-bang race in the Azeri with Happy Ticket. And the ultimate was just blowing those horses away in the Breeders' Cup, showing how good she really was."

Round Pond had a bone chip removed from her left knee at 3 following a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks. She came back the next year to win the Azeri and the Breeders' Cup.

"It's a sad day," Porter said of the retirement. "Round Ponds don't come along very often. She's as good as they get."

Lawyer Ron to Met Mile

Lawyer Ron, who earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109 for his win in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on Saturday, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 28, his trainer, Todd Pletcher, said Monday. Lawyer Ron flew to Keeneland on Monday, and sometime after the Kentucky Derby will head to Belmont. He was a four-length winner of the Oaklawn.

"That was a nice performance," said Pletcher. "That's what we were hoping he would do."

Lawyer Ron has run two strong races for Pletcher when he has had a good amount of time between starts, and the pattern will be followed for the Met Mile. Lawyer Ron won his first start in 3 1/2 months in an optional claimer Feb. 11 at Gulfstream, then did not make his second start of the year until the Oaklawn.

"He's a very consistent horse, and it seems like he's run well for us fresh both times, so that was sort of the game plan," said Pletcher. "That's why we waited until the Oaklawn Handicap and gave him plenty of time, and the spacing from the Oaklawn to the Met is good."

Deadly Dealer in Arkansas Derby

Deadly Dealer flew to Oaklawn on Monday from Kentucky for the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby, as did probable favorite Curlin. The 1 1/8-mile race will be run here Saturday, with a projected field of eight as of Monday morning. Deadly Dealer will be ridden by John Velazquez, according to his trainer, Pletcher.

Deadly Dealer, a seven-length allowance winner last out at Gulfstream Park, could be the controlling speed of the Arkansas Derby, following the defection of Ketchikan, who turned up Sunday lame in his left front leg.

Others pointing for the Arkansas Derby, with riders, are Delightful Kiss, Russell Baze; Flying First Class, Terry Thompson; For You Reppo, Kent Desormeaux; Officer Rocket, Luis Quinonez; and Storm in May, Juan Leyva.

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Going Ballistic and Slew By Slew are both under consideration for the Arkansas Derby and the $100,000 Northern Spur on the undercard Saturday.

Flying First Class and For You Reppo both worked here Monday, with Flying First Class going five furlongs in a bullet 59.20 seconds, and For You Reppo the same distance in 1:00.80. Storm in May was to fly in on Wednesday, said his trainer, Bill Kaplan. The draw for the Arkansas Derby is Wednesday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman