Updated on 09/16/2011 7:39AM

Sir Bear skips away

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photos
Sir Bear, ridden by Edgar Prado, rallies to win Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream Park by a half-length over Red Bullet.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sir Bear added another chapter to his already amazing story, rallying from last to run down even-money favorite Red Bullet in deep stretch and score a half-length victory in Saturday's $100,000, Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap* at Gulfstream Park.

It was the third time Sir Bear, now 9, has won the race. He also won it when it was called the Broward Handicap in 1998 and 1999.

"He's a phenomenon. One of a kind," said Ralph Ziadie, who trains Sir Bear for owner-breeders Al and Barbara Smollin. "And he loves this track."

Sir Bear, who won the Gulfstream Park Handicap in his 2001 debut for his third career Grade 1 triumph, was ridden to victory in the Skip Away by Edgar Prado. He replaced Eibar Coa, who rode Friday in Saudi Arabia's King's Cup and could not travel back to south Florida in time for Saturday's program.

Sir Bear dropped back to eighth and last entering the clubhouse turn of the Skip Away, commenced his rally after five furlongs, raced four-wide into the stretch, and then caught Red Bullet in the final seventy yards.

Red Bullet also raced off the early pace, rallied four-wide to wrest command near the quarter pole and edge clear, but he could not withstand the winner while failing to change leads through the stretch. Hal's Hope finished another half-length back in third.

Sir Bear paid $20.20 with the victory increasing his career earnings to $2,466,000. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.98 over a fast track.

"He's a great old man," said Ziadie. "To look at him you couldn't tell he was a 9-year-old. He looks more like a 4-year-old the way he trains and is always dappled out."

Ziadie said Sir Bear will run again before the end of the meet either in the Donn Handicap on Feb. 9, or in defense of his title in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, on March 30.

Trainer Joe Orseno said he was disappointed Red Bullet got beaten, but that he did not have the 2000 Preakness ready to peak on Saturday.

"I've been trying to get him ready for the Donn, and this was a stepping-stone to get him there. I think he'll move way up off this race," said Orseno. "I am a bit concerned he stayed on his left lead through the stretch but that was a factor of him getting tired. He got run down by a classy old horse today, although I think if he changed leads he probably would have won."

Skip Away Handicap*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.