06/30/2009 12:00AM

Ice Bear stretches out on Poly

Michael Burns
Ice Bear holds off Marchfield to win the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes on June 6 at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ice Bear will give 1 1/4 miles a try Wednesday in the $200,000 Dominion Day, a competitive Grade 3 stakes that heads the Canada Day holiday card at Woodbine. Post time for the first of 10 races is 1 p.m.


Ice Bear evolved into one of Woodbine's leading older runners in 2008, when he won 3 of 8 starts on two different surfaces, for earnings of $325,017.

Ice Bear kicked off his current campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup Stakes on turf. He returned to take the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse Stakes by a neck on the Polytrack on June 6.

Trainer Mac Benson believes Ice Bear needed his season opener, which came against a quality field that included Sterwins and Rahy's Attorney.

"I think he was a little short in his first race," Benson said. "I think the [stakes] competition is a little easier on the Poly than it is on the grass."

Benson said he's pleased with the way Ice Bear has trained up to the Dominion Day, but he would prefer to run him shorter than 1 1/4 miles.

"He worked good the other day," Benson said. "I'm looking forward to running him. I don't care to run him this far, but there's nothing I can do about that."

Marchfield, last year's champion older male runner in Canada, spent the winter at Santa Anita, where he was unplaced against some formidable opposition in a pair of Grade 2 stakes on the Pro-ride surface.

Following a four-month layoff, Marchfield rallied five wide for second in the Grade 3 Eclipse, an effort that surprised trainer Mark Casse.

"Sometimes he loses his racing edge when he hasn't run for a while," Casse said. "I was a little concerned that he wasn't going to be very sharp, but he ran a huge race. He should come back and run a pretty big race."

Approval Rating, third in the Eclipse, won his season debut in an optional claimer in his first start for trainer Terry Jordan, who has won with eight of his last nine Woodbine starters. Approval Rating's lone stakes score came last year in the nine-furlong Victoria Park.

Vacation, based at Belmont with trainer Shug McGaughey, is coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Hanshin Handicap over Arlington's Polytrack.

Michael's Bad Boy wired Ontario-sired stock last time out in the Steady Growth Stakes. He could link up with Tiger Bud on the front end.