04/26/2009 11:00PM

Bearcatt boosts his stable

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Michael Burns
Bearcatt, with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, wins Sunday's $150,400 Woodstock at Woodbine

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear's Rocket was a hot item but finished second as the 4-5 favorite here in last Saturday's $100,000 Wando Stakes.

Bear It's True was cold on the board and finished last of six as the 14-1 outsider in Sunday's $150,400 Woodstock.

But, Bearcatt was just right, capturing the six-furlong Woodstock at just under 6-1 to give trainer Reade Baker and the Bear Stable of Danny Dion their first stakes win of the meeting.

Bearcatt, a Kentucky-bred who was purchased for $190,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's July yearling sale, started twice here at 2, finishing second at five furlongs and then graduating at the same distance while prominent throughout.

Baker, however, had maintained that Bearcatt would be effective coming from off the pace and was vindicated when the colt rallied from last place in the Woodstock to score by a going-away 3 1/4 lengths under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"Obviously, you can do whatever you want with him," Baker said.

Bearcatt had been amongst the Florida contingent wintering with Baker at Palm Meadows but did not see action in the south.

"I'd been toying with putting him in the entries at Gulfstream, but there was a race in the proofs for the condition book at Woodbine on opening day," Baker said.

"I entered him there, but the race didn't fill."

The lack of a prep obviously had no bearing on Bearcatt's performance but, with the next open stakes race for 3-year-old being the 1 1/16-mile Marine here May 16, his connections may be looking out of town for a shorter trip.

Bear's Rocket, who had finished a close second in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream and a respectable sixth in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, should be looking to redeem himself in the $150,000 Marine.

Bear's Prospector, an impressive winner over 6 1/2 furlongs here April 18, also is a Marine candidate.

Awesome Rhythm strong in Wando

The Wando had been expected to boil down to a duel between Bear's Rocket and Shafted, who also had shadowed some top company south of the border.

But it was Awesome Rhythm, also returning from the United States, who proved dominant in the 1 1/16-mile Wando, an open race for 3-year-olds.

Awesome Rhythm, a Kentucky-bred, wintered with trainer John Ross at Payson Park with an eye toward the Ocala Breeders' Championship for 3-year-old colts and geldings on Feb. 16.

"I wanted to get one race at Gulfstream under his belt," said Ross, who sent out Awesome Rhythm to finish sixth in a first-level allowance race over seven furlongs on Jan. 10.

"But the Ocala surface was a speed-oriented track, and he didn't like it."

Awesome Rhythm had closed out his 2-year-old campaign in an improving mode here, graduating over seven furlongs on the meet's closing day, and trained well after returning to Woodbine early this month.

"He absolutely loves this track," said Ross, who now will point Awesome Rhythm for the Marine. "His acceleration is terrific."

Costalivin set for seasonal debut

Ross also has an interesting Ontario-sired 3-year-old prospect in Costalivin, who wrapped up his first campaign with a victory over 1 1/16 miles and is slated to make his seasonal bow this week.

Costalivin is nominated for Saturday's seven-furlong Queenston, but Ross would prefer to bring him back in a first-level allowance one day earlier.

"I'd like to start off with a condition race, but if it doesn't fill I'll have no choice but to run him in the stakes," said Ross, who is keeping a long-term eye on the June 21 Queen's Plate.

"I could have run him five furlongs already, but that's not what I want to do with him. I've been training him to go long.

"He had a great winter. As well as he grew and developed, he's just a different horse this year."

Disfunction refuses to quit in stakes

Disfunction appeared to be in trouble midway through Saturday's $158,850 Jacques Cartier as he retreated along the rail under jockey Emile Ramsammy.

But, showing the tremendous will to win that is becoming his trademark, Disfunction swung wide into the stretch and was up just in time for a neck victory in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier.

"It's been such an exciting run with him," said Julia Carey, who has sent out Disfunction to win 8 of 14 career starts for owners Joe Doi and Weila Ye.

"And now we know we can forget about sending him. It should be easier on him to let him stalk the pace, and that works well on this track."

Disfunction, whose previous successes had been accomplished in speed-oriented fashion, recorded his second win in as many starts here this spring after gamely capturing the 5 1/2-furlong Jacques Cartier prep by a head on April 5.

"The prep was pretty had to pass for that kind of money," Carey said. "He was a work short anyway, so I thought I might as well run him."

Disfunction, a 5-year-old gelding, had traveled to Keeneland last fall to finish a close fourth in the Grade 3 Phoenix at six furlongs and had been scheduled to wind up his season here in the six-furlong Kennedy Road before being sidelined with a minor injury.

Disfunction spent the winter with Carey at Palm Meadows.

"I could have run him at Gulfstream, if the perfect thing had come up for him," said Carey.

Disfunction will aim for the Gradeo3, $150,000 Vigil, a seven-furlong race here May 18 in which he became a stakes winner last year.

Carey has strong Ontario-sired pair

Carey also has an interesting pair of Ontario-sired runners in the 3-year-old Hawkey Star and 4-year-old Lucy's Dolly.

Hawkey Star, owned by Doi in partnership with Carey, won his maiden in impressive fashion over five furlongs here last fall. In his 2009 debut, Hawkey Star finished second as the favorite in a restricted first-level allowance at five furlongs.

Lucy's Dolly, second in her debut here last summer, returned with a sharp score over 5 1/2 furlongs in a restricted maiden race here April 17. Her owner is Lucy Peacock-Thomas, a veteran of Ontario's Stratford Festival who is appearing in several productions there this year.