07/22/2008 12:00AM

Hot combo live with late closer


EDMONTON, Alberta - In light of the way things have been going for Danny Dion's Bear Stable and jockey Stephan Heiler, it would be wise to give Bear Character a long look in Thursday's featured seventh race at Northlands Park.

Bear Character and Heiler break from the outside post in the field eight older runners in the one-mile race for $30,000 claimers.

Drawing outside in one-mile races here is a disadvantage with the short run to the first turn, but Heiler may be able to work out a stalking trip for Bear Character, a former stakes runner who closed well late versus similar opposition here June 29.

Level Red won that race in front-running fashion over a surface favoring speed, but the track has played much kinder to late closers here the past week.

Laurolympio just missed catching Level Red on June 29 and draws the rail this time. Level Red drew post 3, and if the two hook up early, the race may set up for Bear Character.

* Heiler took the lead in the rider standings with three wins on Saturday, including one aboard Dion's Broken Hearted in the Northlands Oaks. Heiler added two more wins Sunday, raising meet total to 24. Going into Wednesday, he had a four-win lead over Shannon Beauregard, who is having the best meet of her career.

* The Northlands Oaks started a big weekend for Dion, who won the Ontario Matron with Bear Now and the Bold Venture with Fatal Bullet at Woodbine on Sunday.