06/18/2008 11:00PM

Bear Now back after surgery

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear Now will make her first start since undergoing throat surgery in Saturday's Hill 'n' Dale Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine. Aside from a share of the $100,000 purse, the top three finishers in the 1 1/16-mile route will receive a season to a Hill 'n' Dale Farm stallion in Kentucky - either Stormy Atlantic, El Corredor, or Shakespeare.

Bear Now, the 2007 Sovereign Award runner-up for champion 3-year-old filly, has run twice this year. She finished a close second to My List in her season opener here, the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes.

Bear Now set the pace before fading to third last time in the Grade 2 Allaire duPont Distaff on Preakness Day at Pimlico. Trainer Reade Baker said Bear Now underwent throat surgery shortly after that May 17 route.

"She had an entrapped epiglottis," said Baker. "Around the far turn, when she usually scoots away from the field, she didn't seem to have it, and I didn't know why. She went to Cornell University go be operated on. We had her back in training in two weeks."

Bear Now has trained forwardly heading into the Hill 'n' Dale. She breezed five-eighths in a bullet 59.40 seconds last Monday.

"She couldn't have worked any better," said Baker. "These works are as good as she's had in her life."

My List might be the second choice in the wagering, even though she's winless in three starts at 1 1/16 miles. She captured two Grade 3 stakes here early in the spring, the six-furlong Whimsical and the 6 1/2-furlong Hendrie.

Lomaki, a nicely bred daughter of A.P. Indy, is unbeaten in two starts. She graduated with a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 at Keeneland, and then notched a seven-furlong allowance here May 10.

The Mark Frostad-trained Catch the Thrill is exiting a gritty win over Stolen Humor in a second-level allowance and optional claimer.

"It was a big effort for her," said assistant trainer Hugh Chatman. "She was down on the rail, and she's not a very big filly." Stolen Humor, Chatman noted, "got the jump on her in the lane, but she came back on again."

Thumbin' a Ride recently ran second in an $80,000 optional claimer that was won by London Snow, who subsequently took the Ballade Stakes.

"She's been working well, but this is a big step up in company for her from a three-other-than," said trainer Malcolm Pierce.