03/17/2010 11:00PM

Unrivaled Belle back on dirt

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Unrivaled Belle did not disgrace herself when she finished fourth in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes over Santa Anita's synthetic Pro-Ride surface last month. But she appears to prefer dirt, a surface she returns to on Saturday when she heads an eight-horse field entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Unrivaled Belle won three consecutive races on dirt last year before finishing second to Flashing in the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct last November. The decision to go to California in February was made because trainer Bill Mott wanted to keep her around two turns. She raced between horses in the La Canada and finished 3 3/4 lengths behind winner Striking Dancer.

"It wasn't a bad race, it wasn't her best race," Mott said of the La Canada. "I don't think we'll be chasing synthetics. When she went out to California she probably wasn't screwed down all the way and had a right to get a little tired."

Unrivaled Belle drew the outside post in the eight-horse field, but has enough natural speed to get a good position under Kent Desormeaux. The other possible speed horses are Bambera and Champagne Eyes.

Miss Singhsix, trained by Marty Wolfson, comes off a relatively easy victory in the Maryland Racing Media Handicap at Laurel, her first stakes win. Wolfson said the 5-year-old mare has come out of the race very well.

"Her last two works have been really good," said Wolfson, who also trains Champagne Eyes.

Bambera, who has won 16 of 18 starts, most in Venezuela, makes her United States debut in the Rampart. Trainer Pablo Andrade said he wanted to run Bambera once before considering the Apple Blossom Invitational, but added the filly is not fully cranked for her first start since last Dec. 6.

"She's not 100 percent ready, but she should give a good account of herself," Andrade said through an interpreter.

Aurora Lights won the Grade 3 Sabin over this course going a one-turn mile three weeks ago. Don't Forget Gil won the Wayward Lass Stakes going two turns at Tampa in her 4-year-old debut.

Appleton: Boots Ahead has shot in wide-open race

With hardly a standout in the group, a late rush to the entry-box created a nine-horse field for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Appleton Stakes going 7 1/2 furlongs on turf. If Boots Ahead can move forward off a second-level allowance win here six weeks ago, he could be the one to beat.

Boots Ahead won the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park last year at 3 before running into the likes of Take the Points and Courageous Cat in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap. In his 4-year-old debut, Boots Ahead rallied from off the pace under Eddie Castro to get a neck victory.

"It didn't take a lot out of him," trainer George Weaver said. "I wanted to run in the Appleton; the timing and the distance of the race are right. Our horse can be a little bit keen, so hopefully at 7 1/2 furlongs there should be a little bit of pace. He's been training great."

Though Eddie Castro won the allowance race on Boots Ahead, he is aboard Kiss the Kid in the Appleton. Kiss the Kid won this race last year but has lost 10 starts since. Julien Leparoux rides Boots Ahead.

Rahy's Attorney, Society's Chairman, Carson Hall, and Almoradi add to the contentious nature of this race.