08/16/2006 12:00AM

Tap Day fresh for Iselin Stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Tap Day will be a well-rested horse going into the Grade 3, $250,000 Philip Iselin Breeders' Cup Stakes Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Tap Day made his first start of the year in March and ran eighth in the Budweiser Challenge at Tampa Bay Downs. He had more than two months off before he ran again, winning an allowance race at Belmont Park. Tap Day then got a seven-week break before Belmont's Grade 1 Suburban Handicap on July 1, when he finished a distant fifth behind Invasor.

Rather than tackle the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 5, Tap Day got another seven-week layoff to wait for the Iselin.

"He doesn't mind four or five weeks between his races, but he's getting seven between his last two," said Rob Rader, assistant trainer to Mark Hennig.

"Will it bother him? We'll find out."

The layoffs, according to Rader, were not the result of illness or injury.

"It's not because he's unsound," Rader said. "He's the soundest horse I've got in the barn. We found in the past when we ran him back in three weeks that he runs so-so. In the last year, we've given him time between races. This year it got longer."

Tap Day had a productive 2005 season with three wins, including the Grade 2 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes. He concluded his campaign running 13th in the Japan Cup.

Rader is encouraged by the way Tap Day is training and acting coming up to the Iselin.

"In fact, he's doing better than before the race in New York, just in the way he's acting around here," Rader said. "He's rearing up and striking at people. We take those as good signs because he did that before his allowance race."

Other likely runners for the 1 1/8-mile Iselin include Master Command, Network, Park Avenue Ball, Sinners N Saints, Survivalist ,and Zoffinger.

Round Pond likely for Molly Pitcher

Round Pond, the multiple graded-stakes-winning filly sidelined since March because of a foot problem, is likely to return in Monmouth's Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes on Aug. 27, trainer Michael Matz said.

Matz took over the training of Round Pond in the spring after owner Rick Porter and trainer John Servis split. Round Pond, who won the Grade 1 Acorn as a 3-year-old, returned to the work tab in July and shows four timed works since, including a five-furlong move in 1:02 over the wood chip course at Fair Hill.

"She's doing real good right now,'' Matz said Wednesday from Fair Hill. "I want to get one race in front of her then hopefully we'll do the Beldame and then go a little further.''

The Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame will be run at Belmont on Oct. 7. If all goes well there, Round Pond would be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

My Husband steps up off win

My Husband makes his third start for trainer Scott Volk Friday in Monmouth's $43,000 third-level allowance feature.

My Husband, a $25,000 claim on May 20, was a game second for the new barn in the Bernie Dowd Handicap for New Jersey-breds and followed with a second-level allowance win. He faces five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

* The record for a low trifecta payoff at Monmouth didn't last long. The mark of $9.20 for the $2 bet set in the first race Sunday was erased in the third race Wednesday. Almonsoon won at 3-10 with Four Once (7-2) second and Philomena (6-1) third in the six-horse field to produce a $6 payoff.

* Emerald Earrings, winner of the West Long Branch and Monmouth Beach Stakes here this summer, has been retired, trainer Bruce Alexander said. The 5-year-old mare will be sold at the Keeneland November sale.

- additional reporting by David Grening