08/13/2008 11:00PM

Bear Now should feel some heat this time


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear Now vs. Serenading, Act III.

June 21: Bear Now controls a moderate pace in the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale and lasts by a head over Serenading, closing on the inside.

July 20: Bear Now dictates a slightly faster pace in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron and holds sway by 1 1/2 lengths over Serenading, closing on the outside.

Aug. 16: The distance is the same as Bear Now and Serenading meet again in the $100,000 Belle Mahone. Could the outcome be different?

Bear Now and Serenading again are the principal players in the field of six for the Belle Mahone, an overnight stakes that required a field of at least five to be carded, with stakes winners My List, Arden Belle, and Dance to My Tune among their opponents.

But the X-factor could be a sharp Star Operator, who will be trying 1 1/16 miles for the first time and should keep Bear Now honest on the front end.

Reade Baker, trainer of Bear Now, isn't overly concerned about her winding up in a speed duel under regular rider Jerry Baird.

"I would think the filly's rateable," said Baker. Baird, he said, "should be able to keep her off the lead if someone's going real fast. In a small field, he should be able to put her wherever he wants to."

Josie Carroll, who trains Serenading, can do little but wait and see which scenario unfolds.

"My horse is in great order, and I know she's a real good filly," said Carroll. "She's a closer, and I don't think you can change her style and be successful.

"Bear Now is difficult to pass when she gets an easy lead. I just have to hope somebody pushes an honest pace."

David Clark retains the mount on Serenading, who will break from the inside while Bear Now begins from post 5.

BC Ladies Classic in mind

Bear Now, owned by the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, was not nominated to the Belle Mahone but was supplemented at a cost of $2,000.

"I didn't really think the race would go," said Baker, who had been on the verge of entering Bear Now in the $100,000 Windward, a one-mile race for fillies and mares on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs on Saturday. He also nominated her to the Ballston Spa at Saratoga next Sunday, but said he wanted to keep her on Polytrack up to the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, to be run on the Santa Anita Polytrack Oct. 24.

Another meeting out in Alberta

Baker and Carroll could meet again in next Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby, the 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that is the showpiece of Edmonton's Northlands Park meeting.

Bear's Tiger, trained by Baker, could face Matt's Broken Vow, trained by Carroll, in that race.

Bear's Tiger is slated to fly west with Discreet Commander, another Canadian Derby candidate, who is based here with trainer Arthur Silvera.

A Kentucky-bred owned by Bear Stable, Bear's Debut would be making his stakes debut in the Canadian Derby.

"There's no point beating our heads here, going against older horses," said Baker, who watched Bear's Tiger finish fifth in a difficult optional claimer/second-level allowance here last time out.

Matt's Broken Vow would be making his second Western trip after capturing the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs on Aug. 4.

A Kentucky-bred owned by Robert Mitchell, Matt's Broken Vow also captured the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Marine here on May 17.

Two spots possible for Victory Romance

Victory Romance, an Alberta-bred filly whom Carroll trains for Donver Stable, is nominated to both the Canadian Derby and its companion feature, the Edmonton Distaff.

Worth $100,000, the Edmonton Distaff is a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares and would be Victory Romance's target if she makes the trip.

"She's been running hard," said Carroll. "After her last race I turned her out for 10 days, to freshen her up. We'll work her, and then decide."

Victory Romance ran in all three legs of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, finishing second in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, third in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City, and sixth in the Wonder Where over 1 1/4 miles on yielding turf.

Last summer, Victory Romance traveled to Edmonton and won the restricted Filly Sales Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Long or short of it for London Snow

London Snow was nominated to both Woodbine's Victoriana and Fort Erie's Rainbow Connection, both of which are $125,000 turf stakes for fillies and mares on Sunday.

The Victoriana goes at 1 1/16 miles and the Rainbow Connection at five furlongs, and while neither distance may be ideal for London Snow, her trainer, John Charalambous, has elected to stay home for the longer trip.

"I just don't think she can get up going five furlongs," said Charalambous. "I didn't really want to go against Executive Flight in the Victoriana, either, but you've got to do something.

"My filly's in good shape, and she's won going a mile on turf," said Charalambous, who sent out London Snow to win the La Prevoyante at that distance here in 2006.

"Hopefully, this is going to be a peak performance."

London Snow began her campaign with back-to-back wins in main-track sprints, the second coming in the six-furlong Ballade for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. Executive Flight finished third there, two lengths ahead of London Snow.

"There are few opportunities for Ontario-sired fillies and mares," said Darwin Banach, who conditions Executive Flight for Bill Sorokolit Jr.

"We have to point to these, and hope we're on our game on those days."

* Jim McAleney will be at Emerald Downs on Saturday to ride True Metropolitan for trainer Terry Jordan in the Longacres Mile. The Longacres Mile offers Grade 3 status, a purse of $300,000, and is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.