12/27/2010 4:45PM

Hot barns square off after blizzard

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bulls and Bears will return from a lengthy layoff in a first-level allowance on Wednesday at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainers Rick Violette and Mike Hushion were each winning at 50 percent clip at the Aqueduct winter meet before racing went on a 10-day holiday hiatus. When racing returns Wednesday, the two hot barns square off in the $47,000, first-level allowance feature at six furlongs.

The race only drew a field of six and will go as race 2, which means it will not be part of the pick six that begins the day with a carryover of $36,839.

Violette, who went 11 for 22 during the first 15 days of the inner-track meet, brings the once-promising Bulls and Bears back off a nine-month layoff, while Hushion sends out the improving Sunrise Smarty in the six-horse field.

Bulls and Bears, a 3-year-old son of Holy Bull, won his debut in summer 2009 over the subsequent Grade 1 winner Discreetly Mine when both were 2-year-olds. Bulls and Bears finished fifth – beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by Backtalk – in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga before being sidelined by varying illnesses and infirmities. He returned in March at Gulfstream and finished third in a first-level allowance race before being sidelined again.

“Lingering little issues that if you pressed on could have been career threatening,” Violette said. “You fix one thing, something else would niggle him. Nothing that required surgery, you just had to wait these things out.”

Bulls and Bears shows 10 works since Oct. 20, but Violette said he feels the horse is the type that would benefit from a race.

“He’s trained well without breaking stopwatches,” Violette said. “He might need a race to light fire. We got a shot to have a nice horse, if he returns to the level where he was when he broke his maiden.”

Junior Alvarado will ride Bulls and Bears from post 5.

Sunrise Smarty, a 3-year-old son of Smarty Jones, won a maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths at Belmont on Oct. 20, earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. In the Groovy Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 21, he ran into a buzzsaw named Rule by Night, finishing second, beaten 9 1/4 lengths.

“I think the race was fine,” said Hushion, who is 3 for 6 at the meet. “If you look at his Beyers, it might look like he went back, but I don’t think he went back at all.”

Ramon Dominguez rides Sunrise Smarty from post 6.

Black Pen, who won a starter allowance by 3 1/4 lengths on Dec. 18, wheels right back for trainer David Jacobson. Driven by Solar, a three-time inner track winner, and Six Flings complete the field.