Saturday, September 27, 2008 12:00 AM
By Eric Wing
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 27, 2008 . . . The foray from Canada to Turfway Park proved even more profitable for owner Bear Stables Ltd., trainer Reade Baker, and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva as Bear Now cruised to a four-length victory in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff (G3). The win came barely an hour after the connections teamed up to take the Sprint with Fatal Bullet. The trio leaves Turfway with two impressive prospects for the Breeders' Cup World Championships October 24-25 at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
Bear Now, the 8-5 race favorite, harnessed her sharp early speed and took a comfortable early position in second, just off the early pace set by 7-1 frontrunner Devil House. Under a snug hold, Bear Now tracked the pacesetter through fractions of :23.87, :47.19, and 1:11.31. With little encouragement Bear Now assumed the lead from a tiring Devil House and then easily held off a late rally from 12-1 shot Unforgotten. Devil House held third, 2 1/4 lengths farther back. Final time for the mile and a sixteenth was 1:43.37.
"I'm thrilled with the race," said Baker. "She rated easily. It was the first time she's done that in her life, which should bode well for California. Last year all she could do was go to the lead."
When asked what made the difference in Bear Now's ability to relax, Baker simply pointed to jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.
"I had the opportunity to work her two times," said Da Silva. "The first time she was very aggressive. I tried to get her to relax. The second work, I got to know her well and she went well and finished strong. I was very confident because she relaxed today. She was a little tight before going into the gate, but she's very professional. Today she understood what I was asking her and she did everything right. When you ride this kind of horse, it makes your job easy."
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan was pleased with the effort by runner-up Unforgotten. "There was a lot of speed in here so I let her hang out a little, get her foot under her," he said. "When I asked her to pick it up going into the turn, she did and she finished pretty good."
Bear Now, who paid $4.40 to win, has won nine of 19 career starts and is eight for 12 over all-weather surfaces. Her career earnings stand at $1,078,391. Bear Now will look to improve upon her Breeders' Cup performance from a year ago, when she finished a tired eighth in the Monmouth Park slop in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff. This year's edition of the race, now known as the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, will be run over the Oak Tree at Santa Anita synthetic Pro-Ride surface on October 24.
The complete order of finish in the Kentucky Cup Distaff: Bear Now, Unforgotten, Devil House, Marquee Delivery, Fancy Fusaichi, Tazarine, and Maren's Meadow.