04/01/2005 12:00AM

Bear Fan going to A.P. Indy


ARCADIA, Calif. - Bear Fan, one of the top female sprinters of 2004, will be bred to A.P. Indy later this month and is unlikely to race again, according to her trainer and co-owner Wesley Ward.

Bear Fan, a California-bred 6-year-old, won half of her 16 starts and $808,150. She finished fifth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai on March 26, the world's richest sprint.

Ward said that Bear Fan will be retired unless she is pronounced not in foal at the end of the spring.

"Hopefully, she'll get in foal," Ward said. "If she doesn't get in foal in the next 60 days, I'll put her back in training. She will have had the rest she needs."

If Bear Fan is pronounced in foal, she will be sold at a sale in Kentucky in November, Ward said.

By Pine Bluff, Bear Fan won five stakes, including four in consecutive starts last year. She had been fighting a quarter crack in the last year, which limited her to four starts since July 1.

Bear Fan won her first four starts, including the 2002 Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar, and was at her best in the winter and spring of last year. She won the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel, the Irish O'Brien Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita, and the Genuine Risk and Vagrancy handicaps, both Grade 2's, at Belmont Park.

The Golden Shaheen was her fourth consecutive loss. In the Golden Shaheen, she finished 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Saratoga County.

Bear Fan's victories ranged in distance from six to seven furlongs. She never raced beyond seven furlongs.

Ward, who co-owns Bear Fan with Peter Fan, debated whether to breed the mare this spring.

"In a way, it's a shame," Ward said. "She's doing great and she came out of her last race awesome. But she is a 6-year-old mare."

Burnison: Small stable, big impact

Bill Burnison's small stable may have a big role in California-bred sprint stakes later this year.

On Thursday, Burnison's Ata Olympio won for the sixth time in eight starts in an allowance race against open company over six furlongs. A 4-year-old gelding, Ata Olympio was bred by Burnison, who is also the owner and trainer.

By Olympio, Ata Olympio has made one stakes appearance, winning the California Cup Starter Sprint Handicap last October. Ata Olympio made his first start in a maiden race for $32,000 claimers in early 2004, but has not raced for a price since.

Burnison, 81, has four horses in training. A lifelong horseman who has been a regular at Santa Anita for more than 65 years, Burnison was in the service in Europe in World War II and went into construction after the war. The business was highly successful, allowing him to launch a racing stable and buy a farm in Fillmore, Calif.

"I win in and out" of racing, he said.

Burnison later sold the farm. A resident of Beverly Hills, Burnison boards his horses in Kentucky and at River Edge Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif. He has 13 horses of all ages.

"I don't want to get too big," he said.

Ata Olympio is the star of the stable. Burnison does not have a race in mind for the gelding, but said that a stakes is likely.

Thursday, Ata Olympio rallied past pacesetter Terrell to win by a half-length under jockey Garrett Gomez.

"He likes competition. He tried to pull back, and Garrett had to get after him," Burnison said.

There may be more to come from the stable. Burnison has a 3-year-old half-sister to Ata Olympio named Ata Gulch, who could start soon. "She could be a nice one," he said.