01/15/2009 12:00AM

Bear Now gets a fresh start at 5


Bear Now will begin writing the next chapter of her phenomenal story on Saturday at the Fair Grounds. With new ownership and a new trainer, she looks to extend her racing career as a 5-year-old.

Bought as a yearling for $65,000, she won more than a million dollars for her owner Danny "Bear" Dion and trainer Reade Baker before being sold for $950,000 at Fasig Tipton November.

Her new owners, Town and Country Farm, shipped her south to Al Stall's barn to have another go at racing, and she will begin her campaign as the highweight in the Truly Bound Handicap, Saturday's ninth race, going 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $60,000.

Bear Now will go forward as the favorite among six fillies and mares, and she looks to have a huge class edge over her rivals. As a 3-year old in 2007, she won the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia and ran in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, where she set the pace and before giving way and finishing eighth.

Bear Now's 2008 campaign was slightly less impressive, though still formidable. She won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park by four lengths before closing out her season with another disappointing eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic after setting the pace again.

Even so, the year was impressive enough to the voters of Canada's Sovereign awards that they named named Bear Now Canada's champion older female on the main track.

She has turned in a solid string of works in preparation for her return to racing.

"She wants to do it, she wants to be at the track," said Stall. "She's been very professional in the morning, and we're looking forward to seeing her run in the afternoon."

Of the five other horses running, two of them - Tammy's Victress and My Heavenly Sign - come from Larry Jones's red-hot barn, and both seem to be going in the right direction.

My Heavenly Sign comes into the race off a victory in the seven-furlong Orleans at Delta Downs, while Tammy's Victress enters off a second-place effort in an off-the-turf allowance at the Fair Grounds.

Another contender is Rolling Sea, who scored a 2007 victory in the Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill Downs. She last raced at Delta Downs on Dec. 5, winning the Treasure Chest by a head.