Versatile California-bred mare Bear Fan hit the front near the quarter pole and bounded away to an easy five-length victory over Harmony Lodge in the $150,00 Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park Sunday.
Bear Fan, who missed last weekend's Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs because of a rear quarter crack, registered her third straight stakes victory in a six-furlong time of 1:08 4/5.
The 5-year-old bay daughter of Pine Bluff
, with John Velazquez riding, tucked in for a rail-skimming ride just behind speedster Mooji Moo. When that one came off the rail a bit on the turn, Bear Fan accelerated through the hole on the inside when asked and left Harmony Lodge, the slight 6-5 favorite over Bear Fan, far behind while finishing under a vigorous hand ride for Velazquez.
Kitty Knight, rallied mildly for third, eight lengths behind the winner as jockey Norberto Arroyo lost his whip three furlongs from home.
Mooji Moo, with Harmony Lodge and Richard Migliore pressuring her for the lead while three wide, set an opening quarter mile pace of :22 2/5 and covered four furlongs in :44 4/5 before backing out of it.
Bear Fan carried 117 pounds, three less than Harmony Lodge, the highweight in the field of five.
Wesley Ward co-owns Bear Fan with Peter Fan and also bred and trains her. Sporting a record of 7-2-1 in 11 lifetime starts, she was coming off a one-length victory on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita in the Irish O'Brien Stakes March 17, her grass debut. Prior to that, she won the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park by a length Feb. 14. Sunday's winning purse of $90,000 improved her career earnings to $498,150.
Sent off at 7-5, Bear Fan paid $4.90, $2.50 and $2.20. Harmony Lodge returned $2.30 and $2.10 and Kitty Knight's show was $2.40. The short-priced exacta was worth $10.80.
Our Royal Dancer and Mooji Moo completed the order.