09/10/2007 12:00AM

Bear's Kid could be alone up front


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear's Kid figures to be the speed of Wednesday's paceless Woodbine feature and will likely take some catching in the $80,000 optional claimer.

Bear's Kid, a 4-year-old trained by Reade Baker, seemed poised for stardom when he landed the Grade 2 Summer Stakes on the grass in his fourth start at 2. However, he subsequently ran fifth in the Grade 3 Grey BC Stakes on the dirt before going to the sidelines for nearly a year.

Bear's Kid had an abbreviated 2006 campaign, winning 1 of 3 outings, and was laid up again after a poor performance at Gulfstream early this year. He was a flat fifth when he reappeared here June 2 in a $100,000 optional claimer and then finished a well-beaten seventh in the Grade 2 King Edward BC Stakes.

Bear's Kid moved to the Polytrack most recently in an optional claimer at the distance of Wednesday's race, 1 1/16 miles, and wound up second after a three-wide stalking trip under Jerry Baird.

Baker said he was content with Bear's Kid's last effort.

"It was a wake-up race," he said. "He hadn't run that good since last fall. Jerry was very aggressive on him, and I think he needs that. I think he'll run as good as he did last time, or better."

Bear's Kid worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:01 last Thursday over the training track and looks to be sitting on a peak performance.

Bold Finish and Etruscan, who finished third and fourth, respectively, behind Bear's Kid on Aug. 10, also are in the field along with Torquay and Decew Falls. Bold Finish is having a career year for trainer Phil Gracey. He won his season opener in a first-level allowance going long, and then finished a distant second in the restricted Steady Growth Stakes.

Bold Finish won a $62,500 optional claimer comfortably July 14, while getting a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. He was awarded an 86 Beyer last time after having a good trip pressing a slow pace under Robert Landry.

Etruscan was a length behind Bold Finish after running evenly most recently in his first appearance since his triumph in a second-level allowance on June 22. He prevailed in a first-level allowance May 19 under Garry Cruise, who has 4 wins from 13 mounts at the meeting for trainer Mark Frostad.

Torquay captured his last two outings, including a 1 1/4-mile optional claimer that was taken off the grass and run on the Polytrack.

* The pick seven carryover is $9,292.