"There isn't any horse that I know that is going to run in the Skip Away that I'm afraid of," said a confident Orseno. "We've also got Jerry Bailey to ride him and if he runs the race I know he can run, he'll be a tough horse to beat."
Sir Bear will begin his 9-year-old season in the $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Red Bullet has been assigned high weight of 118 pounds for the 1 1/16-mile Donn Handicap (gr. I) prep."He's doing good," said trainer Ralph Ziadie of Sir Bear. "We're going to give it (the Skip Away) a try."Three-time grade I winner Sir Bear last raced in that event in 1999, when it was called the Broward Handicap, beating Behrens by three-quarters of a length. He also won the 1998 renewal before finishing third to Skip Away in the Donn. Skip Away never raced in the event which now bears his name.Sir Bear has begun each of his six previous racing seasons at Gulfstream Park. He visited the winners' circle after three of these seasonal debuts. Sir Bear will race under 116 pounds on Saturday.Also making his 2002 debut in Saturday's Skip Away Handicap is Red Bullet. The Stronach Stable's runner hasn't won a stakes race since the 2000 Preakness (gr. I), but he did win a Saratoga allowance race of a layoff last year. Red Bullet last raced in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) in late November, finishing third."He ran a good race in the Cigar Mile," trainer Joe Orseno said. "I was very pleased with his effort and I would have liked for the race to have been a little longer. We're going to run him in the Skip Away and if he runs the way we think he will then we'll swing him back and run him in the Donn Handicap (gr. I, Feb. 9)."Orseno added that Red Bullet has been training well at Gulfstream Park.