10/19/2008 11:00PM

Ladies' Classic: Bear Now likele a high price


Bear Now has finished in the money in 8 of her last 9 starts, winning 5, including her most recent start, the Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park on Sept. 27. Despite that consistency, she will be a longshot on Friday in the $2 million Ladies' Classic, because the strong field includes the unbeaten Zenyatta, along with such accomplished Grade 1 performers as Carriage Trail, Cocoa Beach, Ginger Punch, and Hystericalady.

The glaringly poor race in that nine-race sequence is last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff, in which Bear Now finished eighth, beaten more than 20 lengths by the victorious Ginger Punch. Reade Baker, Bear Now's trainer, said the sloppy track at Monmouth Park was not to blame. Instead, according to Baker, Bear Now "bled badly, for the first and only time of her life."

"That race is a throw-out," Baker said.

Bear Now, 4, has the benefit of having raced on synthetic surfaces 12 times, winning eight. And while she used to need the lead, Baker says she has learned to relax.

"The thing I liked about her last race is that it's the first time she truly settled," Baker said.