11/26/2008 12:00AM

Bear Lahaina drop is cause for concern


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear Lahaina stands out on current form in Friday's Woodbine feature and she figures to be strongly backed, but skeptical handicappers will be asking the question: Why is she suddenly up for sale in the $50,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies?

Bear Lahaina, a $100,000 2-year-old purchase by Bear Stable, won her debut last November and went on to finish second in the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa. She was sidelined for more than six months when she struggled home seventh after a tardy start here July 18, but she subsequently cleared the first allowance condition, while receiving an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

Bear Lahaina finished far up the course after establishing fast fractions when she experimented on the grass in the Aug. 30 Ontario Colleen Stakes. She won a second-level allowance-optional claimer in her penultimate outing and is coming off a third-place finish in the Ruling Angel Stakes.

On Friday, Bear Lahaina shortens up from 6 1/2 to five furlongs and should be prominent from the outset. She still has allowance conditions left and is worth something as a broodmare, so the drop in class seems suspicious. On the other hand, the overall decline in the breeding industry has cheapened her residual value, and trainer Reade Baker might be taking a huge edge with the daughter of Silver Deputy.

Eurico Da Silva inherits the mount from the suspended Emma Wilson on Bear Lahaina.

The most likely upsetter is the fresh Kentucky shipper Talk Fast.

Talk Fast won her maiden second time out with ease over $50,000 opposition last December at Turfway and she doubled up in a six-furlong allowance in January, for which she was awarded an 85 Beyer. She was third in the Feb. 5 Mardi Gras Stakes on the grass at the Fair Grounds, before going on hiatus.

Talk Fast resurfaced in a $50,000 claimer at Keeneland in October, and had a tough inside pace-pressing trip after breaking from the rail. She made the lead at the eighth pole before tiring and wound up third in a race that she had to have needed.

Patrick Husbands will ride Talk Fast, who is making her first start for trainer Michael Pino.

Grenade defeated older nonwinners-of-two opposition in her last race, while competing with a $37,500 claiming tag. She has a fine record over shorter sprints distances and her tactical speed might enable her to hit the top three.