Bear Now Tops Million Mark at Woodbine

Bear Now eclipsed $1 million in career earnings with a front-running victory as the odds-on choice in the $154,614 Ontario Matron Stakes at Woodbine July 20.

Trained by Reade Baker for Bear Stables, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Tiznow   filly made it back-to-back stakes wins over Woodbine's Polytrack surface going 1 1/16 miles. She won the Hill 'n' Dale Farms Stakes one month ago.

Jerry Baird brought Bear Now home 1 1/2 lengths in front of the rallying Serenading in a time of 1:42.85.

The dark bay or brown filly took the lead shortly after the start and built a daylight lead over her four rivals while clicking off reserved fractions of :24.08, :47.81, and 1:11.63. She quickened at the top of the lane to open a 2 1/2-length advantage and drove to a comfortable victory over Serenading, who rallied from last in the stretch for David Clark. Arden Belle, ridden by Jono Jones, was another 1 1/2 lengths behind in third.

Bear Now, who won for the eighth time in 17 starts and increased her earnings to $1,007,243, had defeated Serenading by a head in the Hill 'n' Dale June 21.

“She’s the queen of Woodbine right now,” said Baker. “There was no real speed in the race other than her. They couldn’t go and waste their horse chasing her, and then she’s tough to get if you leave her alone.”

Last year, Bear Now won four of her eight starts, including the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Handicap (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park and the Selene Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine. She concluded her season in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, where she finished eighth to Ginger Punch in the 1 1/8-mile event on a sloppy track.

“She’s at the top of her game right now,” Baker said.

Bear Now returned $3.90, $2.20, and $2.10, combining with Serenading ($2.90, $2.10) for an $8.70 exacta. Arden Belle paid $3 to show.

Bred by ClassicStar, Bear Now is out of the In Excess mare Controlled. She sold for $65,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale.

(Chart, Equibase)

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