07/24/2007 12:00AM

Bear Holiday emerges on his own


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear Holiday came into last Saturday's Colin in the shadow of Dancing Allstar, who had been so impressive in defeating fellow fillies in the My Dear here on July 2. But it was Bear Holiday who was in the spotlight following the six-furlong Colin, as he got up in the last jump under jockey Jerry Baird to nip the front-running Dancing Allstar by a nose.

"I was really impressed," said Reade Baker, who trains Bear Holiday for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion.

"I've always like this horse. He's really professional. He's never made a misstep since I got him."

Bear Holiday, a Kentucky-bred who was a $250,000 yearling purchase at Saratoga last August, was in training with Larry Lay at Keeneland before joining Baker here in May. In his first start, in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special here June 24, Bear Holiday was a dominant winner under Baird and delivered on that promise in the Colin.

Baker said he would nominate Bear Holiday to the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special, a 6 1/2-furlong race on Aug. 16. Other possible targets for Bear Holiday include the $125,000 Swynford, a seven-furlong race here Sept. 15 that could serve as a stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $250,000 Grey at 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 8.

Plans wide open for Bear Now

Another Bear Stable horse, Bear Now, was fourth in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks over 1 1/16 miles on July 14, and could be returning to the United States for her next start.

"She stumbled at the start, and it got worse from there," said Baker, of Bear Now's Delaware Oaks experience.

Baker cited as possible targets for Bear Now the $150,000 Duchess, a seven-furlong race here Aug. 11; the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama, a 1o1/4-mile race at Saratoga on Aug. 18; the Grade 3, $100,000 Arlington Oaks, a 1o1/8 mile race on the same date; and the Grade 2, $750,000 Cotillion, a 1o1/16 mile race at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 22.

Bear Now, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who was purchased at Keeneland for $65,000, won the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Selene here Mayo20 and then doubled up over older fillies and mares at the same distance in the Hill 'N' Dale June 16.

Dash It Darling to get distance test

In the meantime, Baker plans to run Dash It Darling here in Saturday's $250,000 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies that would be her longest test to date.

Dash It Darling has made her last three starts on turf and is coming off a second-place finish July 6 in a seven-furlong Ontario-sired allowance under jockey Emile Ramsammy.

"She'll like the turf, and the jockey says she'll run all day," said Baker, adding that Ramsammy had suggested the Wonder Where venture. "I don't think the distance will be a problem. It will be whether she can step up when she does try it."

Baker was encouraged by the fact that Dashingalltheway, who finished third behind Dash It Darling in the July 6 allowance, came back to romp at a similar class here last Saturday.

Awesome Action tops old-timers' day

There were plenty of golden oldies in last Saturday's Ontario Jockey Club with a pair of 8-year-olds, three 7-year-olds, and a couple of 6-year-olds in the field of 10 Ontario-foaled horses.

And the horse who emerged atop the hit parade in the seven-furlong overnight turf stakes was Awesome Action, a 7-year-old who was making his second start of the season under Robert Landry.

"That may have been the best race he's ever run," said Sue Leslie, who trains Awesome Action and is a part-owner along with Curtis and Nancy Joseph and Don Meehan.

In fact, Awesome Action's Beyer Speed Figure of 98 did equal his lifetime best, which was earned when the gelding recorded his only previous stakes victory, in the 2005 running of the Ontario Jockey Club.

Landry, who has ridden Awesome Action in 34 of 40 career starts, also was aboard on that occasion.

Awesome Action, whose third-place effort in last year's Ontario Jockey Club was his only in-the-money in finish in eight 2006 appearances, had hinted that better days were ahead in his 2007 opener here June 2. Competing at a mile on turf under fourth-level allowance terms, Awesome Action closed strongly to finish second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

"He got into some traffic trouble," said Leslie. "It just didn't open up for him, or I thought he'd have been right there that day."

The rejuvenated Awesome Action could make his next stakes appearance in the Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King, at seven furlongs on turf here Aug. 25.

"We'll nominate him and take a look at it," said Leslie. "Running against Ontario-breds and running against open company are two entirely different races."

Hotwalker recuperating

Kathryn Sullivan, a part-time hotwalker for trainer Michael Doyle, is recuperating at home after suffering severe facial injuries when she was kicked by a horse last Saturday morning.

Sullivan was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital, where she underwent surgery. She now faces a lengthy period of recuperation.

Formerly of the Woodbine racing department, Sullivan left this spring to pursue other opportunities within the racing industry. She has been acting as the racing manager for several clients of trainer Gail Cox.

Well-wishers can contact Sullivan at kathrynsullivan@hotmail.com.