Bear Tough Guy battles to win the Grey Stakes at Woodbine.

Bear Tough Guy battles to win the Grey Stakes at Woodbine.

Michael Burns

Bear Tough Guy Claws Out Grey Stakes Victory

Bear Stables' 2-year-old could be headed to Breeders' Cup after winning stretch duel.

Bear Tough Guy outfought Korvette Kid over the long Woodbine stretch to register a neck victory in the $197,149 Grey Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds Oct. 11.

A game winner in his maiden debut on the grass at one mile Sept. 13 for trainer Reade Baker, Bear Tough Guy is now two-for-two in his career. His win in the 1 1/16-mile Grey, a race won by Mine That Bird last year, was timed in 1:45.34 over the Polytrack.

Bear Tough Guy provided Baker and jockey Eurico Da Silva with their third graded stakes win of the weekend. On Oct. 9 at Keeneland, Fatal Bullet won the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) to earn a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). The following day, they teamed to capture Woodbine's Mazarine Stakes (Can-IIIT) with the 2-year-old filly Biofuel in a 4 1/2-length upset. Biofuel could be headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) next.

"I've never had a weekend like this. It's like a dream," Da Silva said. "My horse ran great. I'm proud of him. He's only going to get better and better."

Bear Tough Guy stalked in fourth from his outside post as Ring My Surprise led the seven-horse field for the opening half-mile while posting pedestrian fractions of :25.09 and :49.83. Korvette Kid, pressing the pace for Jim McAleney, grabbed the lead rounding the turn after completing six furlongs in a soft 1:14.25.

Bear Tough Guy, who moved into striking position in third on the far turn, engaged Korvette Kid at the head of the stretch as Mobthewarrior closed five paths wide around the turn into contention. Bear Tough Guy had a head lead at the eighth pole and prevailed in a stern drive over Korvette Kid. Mobthewarrior, who finished all out for jockey Emile Ramsammy, was a half-length back in third.

Owned by Bear Stables, Bear Tough Guy earned $114,900 for the victory. Hartley/D Renzo Thoroughbreds bred the son of Roar of the Tiger--Lady Cruella (by Capote) in Florida. The bay colt sold for $27,000 at Ocala Breeders' Sale in April.

"It was cold all summer so it was time to heat up," Baker said. "He's a big tough horse. He's hard to handle. It's almost impossible for him to win the way he did today. It was just his second race and his first time on Polytrack.

Baker said he would talk it over with owner Danny Dion, but added, "I think we're going (to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile)."

Ghost Fleet, the 2-1 favorite who was three-for-three on Woodbine's Polytrack, settled for fourth, two lengths behind the winner. Then came stakes winner William's Kitten, Rein King and Ring My Surprise.

Sent off as the second choice, Bear Tough Guy paid $8.30, $4.70 and $3.50 and combined with Korvette Kid ($6.60, $5.60) for a $67.40 exacta. Korvette Kid made his first start on a synthetic surface after two races on turf -- a debut maiden win at six furlongs and an off-the-board finish in the one-mile Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT). Mobthewire, coming off a runner-up finish in the Canadian-bred Simcoe Stakes for trainer Greg de Gannes, was $5.40 to show.