Augustin Stable’s Ice Bear, winner of the 2009 Eclipse Stakes (Can-III), is back to defend his title against nine older horses in the $150,000 event June 5 at Woodbine.
Ice Bear was installed as the 5-2 choice in a field of 10 that will go 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack. The Eclipse shares the spotlight with the $300,000 Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) for fillies and mares on the turf.
Trained by Mac Benson, 6-year-old Ice Bear scored in last year’s Eclipse by a neck under Chantal Sutherland, who will be aboard once again. The gelded son of Maria’s Mon has captured two of six starts since—both allowance races—including a victory last October to complete his season. In his 2010 debut, Ice Bear was fourth in a May 14 allowance event—his first start in nearly seven months.
Ice Bear has made all 28 of his career starts at Woodbine, 17 on the Polytrack. The homebred has won nine times for earnings of $775,812. He will break from post 5 while carrying 121 pounds.
Among Ice Bear’s main competitors is Canada’s 2008 Horse of the Year and champion sprinter Fatal Bullet, who looks for his third graded stakes win while making his second start of the year. Fatal Bullet, runner-up in the 2008 Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), will break from the rail as the 7-2 second choice. Gerry Olguin will ride for trainer Reade Baker.
Also in the mix is grade I winner Mast Track, who ships in from California looking to rebound off a poor performance in the March 6 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) when finishing last. The 6-year-old son of Mizzen Mast, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) in 2008, recorded his most recent victory Dec. 12 in the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
The 123-pound high weight is Palladio, who won the Eclipse back in 2007. One of two entrants for trainer Roger Atffield, Palladio was beaten a neck in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita in January to begin his 8-year-old campaign. A millionaire and winner of five graded stakes in his 38-start career, the son of Lycius scored in the Autumn Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine in November for his last win.
Attfield, who will also saddle Sligovitz, has won this race five times.
$150,000 Eclipse Stakes (Can-III, Race 8, 4:39 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Fatal Bullet (FL), L G Olguin, 117, R Baker 7/2
2. Mast Track (KY), L Contreras, 121, S Smullen 9/2
3. Pool Play (ON), P Husbands, 121, M E Casse 6/1
4. Tierra Del Tigre (K,), D Clark, 117, G Cox 20/1
5. Ice Bear (ON), C Sutherland, 121, M Benson 5/2
6. Palladio (FL), R A Dos Ramos, 123, R L Attfield 15/1
7. Southdale (ON), E Wilson, 117, I Black 8/1
8. Stunning Stag (ON), E R Da Silva, 117, S C Attard 10/1
9. Awesome Rhythm (KY), J McAleney, 119, J A Ross 20/1
10. Sligovitz (ON), J C Jones, 117, R L Attfield 12/1