05/04/2010 11:00PM

Bears Finish Line ready to go


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The $100,000 Wando, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, was inaugurated in 2008.

Its purpose was to offer a stakes opportunity for the connections of winter-raced horses who may have been running around two turns and did not want to cut back in distance.

But, as an overnight stakes, the Wando is not guaranteed to go without a minimum of five entrants.

Entries for the Wando were taken on Wednesday, and once again just five horses will compete.

But the short field certainly doesn't bother trainer Mike DePaulo, who will be represented by Bears Finish Line.

"I would have liked to have had a two-turn race into him but physically, he looks like a stayer. He's long and lean and tall."

Bears Finish Line, a Kentucky-bred owned by the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, was making just his second career start when he won a 6o1/2-furlong maiden race in comfortable fashion here April 17.

In his debut, which came over one mile at Gulfstream on March 20, Bears Finish Line had been beaten 13 lengths as the fifth-place finisher.

"I was a little disappointed. I guess we didn't have him as tight as we thought we did," said DePaulo. "He'd trained so well down there.

"He was kind of wide, and he ran a little green. And, the track was favoring speed."

Bears Finish Line, originally a $20,000 yearling, was purchased for $190,000 by DePaulo and Dion at last year's April 2-year-olds in training sale at Ocala.

"He was a big, strong horse, and he'd breezed really well," said DePaulo. "We had him in here last year, but he had a little issue so we sent him home.

"Later in the year we sent him to Ocala, and he met up with me at Gulfstream."

Bears Finish Line has come back to breeze sharply since his maiden win, getting four furlongs in 47.20 seconds here Monday.

Mobthewarrior a Plate supplement

Mobthewarrior, who was one of the better 2-year-olds on the grounds, did not attract any attention in the early Queen's Plate prognostications this year.

Much of that oversight could be attributed to the fact that Mobthewarrior was not nominated to the Queen's Plate at the Feb. 1 stage.

That has since been rectified, however, as Mobthewarrior was supplemented at a cost of $5,000 at the May 1 deadline.

And on Tuesday, Mobthewarrior served notice that he's ready for battle with a five-furlong breeze in a bullet 58.40 seconds over the Polytrack.

"He broke off five lengths behind another horse, who was a target for him," said Greg De Gannes, who trains the Ontario-sired gelding for owner Andrew Fredericks. "He seems to enjoy that more.

"Now, one more work and hopefully we'll entertain the Queenston."

The $150,000 Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, will be run here next Saturday and would be the first start for Mobthewarrior in more than six months.

Last year Mobthewarrior raced six times, concluding his campaign with a victory in the restricted Frost King at seven furlongs on Nov. 4.

Mobthewarrior was making his fifth consecutive stakes here, with his more noteworthy effort being a close third-place finish behind American-breds Bear Tough Guy and Korvette Kid in the Grade 3 Grey at 1 1/16 miles.

"After the Frost King I gave him the rest of the year off," said De Gannes.

"He'd raced enough for a 2-year-old. He'd actually been in training since the previous October, without any time off."

Rethinking for Jenny's So Great

De Gannes will be regrouping with Jenny's So Great, who finished a tiring fifth as the third choice here in last Saturday's seven-furlong Fury.

"She's just not in that class right now," said De Gannes. "We'll drop back, and try an allowance race. I'd like to run her on the grass."

Stall allocation a juggling act

The number of stalls granted to trainers based in the United States again has not reached projected targets.

California-based Barry Abrams, who was granted 12 stalls here, had been expected to begin shipping in at the end of April but did not have the stock to justify keeping a division here.

Trainer Wesley Ward, currently based in Kentucky, was assigned five stalls at the beginning of the meeting but currently is sharing space with trainer Larry Rivelli, who has 10 stalls.

But, no stalls have remained open for long with demand continuing to exceed supply.

"We've never had this many horses on the racetrack at one time," said Steve Lym, racing secretary and director of racing for the Woodbine Entertainment Group.

"We've been more proactive, taking empty stalls and slotting in a horse here and there."

New starter takes over

Ian Ross has taken over as Woodbine's starter after Drew Brown was given his notice following Sunday's last race.

"I think Drew did a heck of a job for us when he came in," said Lym. "He ran the gate for three years.

"We just decided it was time for a change."

Ross, 51, was a member of the starting gate crew here through the 1980s into the early 1990s.

He also has an equine dental practice and has worked with horses at the gate at various farms, including Adena Springs North and Chiefswood Farm.

Most recently, Ross has been the starter at Ajax Downs, the Quarter Horse track located some 30 miles east of here that launched its first slots-fueled major meeting in 2008 after operating on a smaller scale since 1969.

"I went through the whole process of change there, and I thought we did quite well," said Ross.

"But when this opportunity came along, I couldn't turn it down."

Ross is the brother of local trainer John Ross and former trainer Brian Ross.

Contreras looks to branch out

Luis Contreras, who rides first call for trainer Steve Asmussen's outfit here, has hired jockey agent Tony Esposito to help him pursue mounts from other outfits.

Under his current immigration status, Contreras, a native of Mexico, cannot ride for Canadian owners.