09/08/2008 11:00PM

Baker looking to bring two to Cup

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Reade Baker, who got his first official taste of Breeders’ Cup racing last year at Monmouth Park, hopes to be back for a double helping at Santa Anita this fall with Bear Now and Fatal Bullet.

Bear Now, a 4-year-old who finished eighth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the slop at Monmouth, is looking to return in this year’s edition of the 1 1/8-mile race, which will be run Oct. 24 as the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Fatal Bullet, a 3-year-old gelding, is pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, a six-furlong race that will be contested Oct. 25.

Both Bear Now and Fatal Bullet are owned by the Bear Stable of Danny Dion and are scheduled to have their final Breeders’ Cup preps on the Kentucky Cup program at Turfway Park on Sept. 27.

Bear Now is heading for the Grade 3, $100,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff, a 1?1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. Fatal Bullet is taking aim at the Grade 3, $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

Bear Now, a Kentucky-bred, won back-to-back stakes over 1 1/16 miles here at Woodbine this summer before finishing third at that distance in the Belle Mahone on Aug. 16.

On Tuesday, Bear Now had her first work back as she went five furlongs in 59.20 seconds with jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva in the irons.

“She had a spill, and got loose one day,” said Baker. “She scraped herself up, but we’re on schedule now.”

Fatal Bullet, a Florida-bred, has won back-to-back stakes, capturing the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture here over older horses and defeating fellow 3-year-olds in the six-furlong Tom Ridge on Labor Day at Presque Isle Downs.

Da Silva, who also guided Notgivinmyloveaway to victory in a restricted second-level allowance over a mile and 70 yards on the Sept. 1 Presque Isle program, has the call on Fatal Bullet for the Kentucky Cup Sprint.

In the meantime, Notgivin-myloveaway is scheduled to return to Presque Isle for the $75,000 Dusty Screen, a one-mile race for Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-olds on Sept. 19.

“He likes the track, and he ran against older horses last time,” said Baker.

Juveniles facing tests

The Baker barn also will be represented in a pair of 2-year-old allowance races here Thursday, with Bear’s Rocket going in the seven-furlong turf prep for the Summer Stakes and High Mist in a first-level allowance for fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Bear’s Rocket has run three times, graduating over five furlongs in his second start and then weakening to finish a distant third in the six-furlong Colin on July 19.

“We’ll take the blinkers off, and see if he’s good enough for the Summer,” said Baker. “He’s certainly got enough turf in his pedigree.”

The Grade 3, $300,000 Summer, at one mile on the turf, will be run as a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race here Oct. 4 along with the Grade 1 Canadian International, the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, and the Grade 2 Nearctic, all guaranteeing berths in Breeders’ Cup races.

High Mist ran to her works in her debut, scoring by 5 3/4 lengths as the 7-5 choice at six furlongs.

“She’s been doing everything right since her race, no problem at all,” said Baker. “I think she’ll run very well.”

Akronism taking to synthetics

With all the excitement here last Sunday, the preceding day’s Seaway was lost in the shuffle.

Akronism, based at Delaware Park with trainer Tim Ritchey, shipped in for the second time this season and recorded her second straight Grade 3 stakes win in the Seaway over seven furlongs on Polytrack.

A 4-year-old filly who was bred in Kentucky by her owner, Robert Evans, Akronism had captured the Grade 3 Royal North over six furlongs on turf here five weeks earlier.

Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, racing manager for Evans, had said before the Seaway that Akronism was being tried on Polytrack for the first time with an eye toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Santa Anita’s synthetic surface.

“She hasn’t trained over Polytrack,” said Lawley-Wakelin. “She’ll go to Keeneland now, and we’ll train her over Polytrack and see what we have.”

Akronism also could start at Keeneland with the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares on Oct. 4, a logical target.

“If she does well, that will set her up for Santa Anita,” said Lawley-Wakelin.

Stuck in Traffic done for year

Stuck in Traffic, one of the top 3-year-old sprinters here, has been sent to the nearby farm of veterinarian Leah Guitard and is through for the season.

“We just shut him down – we were having trouble getting him right,” said Martha Gonzalez, who co-owns Stuck in Traffic with MAD Racing Stable and is the wife and assistant of the colt’s trainer, Nick Gonzalez.

“He was getting lung infections on and off, and mentally he just didn’t seem happy,” added Gonzalez. “Leg-wise, he was fine. It just seemed like he was burned out.

“He’s still got a lot of life left in him. He’ll stay here for the winter, and we’ll get him right.”

Stuck in Traffic was at Gulfstream Park last winter but did not start until he returned to Woodbine, capturing the six-furlong Achievement on April 12.

After running second to the subsequent Plate Trial and Queen’s Plate winner Not Bourbon in the seven-furlong Achievement, Stuck in Traffic won the Bold Ruckus over six furlongs on turf and concluded his brief campaign with a second-place finish in the seven-furlong Deputy Minister here July 16.

Shilla may return in the fall

Shilla, who also wintered at Gulfstream and opened up her campaign with back-to-back stakes wins here for the Gonzalez outfit, also is on the farm but could return to the track to point for the $100,000 Ruling Angel on Oct. 22.

A 3-year-old filly owned and bred by Brian Cullen, Shilla captured the five-furlong La Voyageuse and the seven-furlong Fury before finishing last of 12 in the 1 1/8 mile Woodbine Oaks.

In her last start, which came in the Ontario Damsel over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf here July 6, Shilla finished a troubled fourth.

“She just wasn’t doing that well,” said Gonzalez. “It seemed like the heat was getting to her.”