05/10/2004 12:00AM

Belmont: Bear Fan wins third straight stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Wesley Ward was eager to run Bear Fan in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, but a quarter crack forced him to scratch the mare. Ward's disappointment of missing that race was eased Sunday, when Bear Fan won the Grade 2 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park.

Under John Velazquez, Bear Fan, who raced close to a lively pace, came up the rail around the turn of the six-furlong Genuine Risk and drew off under a hand ride to a five-length win. Harmony Lodge, the favorite, finished second, followed under the wire by Kitty Knight, Our Royal Dancer, and Mooji Moo.

"I was just there for the ride," Velazquez said.

Bear Fan's time of 1:08.85 over a fast track was the second-fastest in 21 runnings of the Genuine Risk. Bear Fan earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 107.

The win was Bear Fan's third straight in a stakes this year. She paid $4.90.

Ward gave credit to blacksmith Ian McKinley for having Bear Fan in shape for the Genuine Risk. "He did a great job at patching [the quarter crack]," Ward said.