TORONTO, May 18 – Bear’s Gem proved to be much the best while winning her fifth consecutive race in Saturday’s $126,200 Ballade Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Reade Baker for Bear Stables Ltd., Bear’s Gem rated off the pace in the six furlong ‘Poly’ sprint under Patrick Husbands and found her best run late to score a 1 3/4-length victory.
A dueling duo of Proud of My Roots and Niigon’s Honour set splits of :22.99 and :46.52 with Moonlit Beauty, Grace Phil and Dance to the Moon tracking the contested pace.
Bear’s Gem settled in sixth position along the rail down the backstretch, and followed the lead of Dance to the Moon, under rider Slade Callaghan, who angled off the rail through the turn, reaching the front at the top of the lane.
Husbands then went to work on Bear’s Gem who responded with an energetic run to earn her first stakes score in a final running time of 1:11.08. Dance to the Moon held on for place over Grace Phil.
Husbands was pleased with the result of his patient plan.
"Going over the Form, the horse to beat was Slade’s horse (Dance to the Moon)," said Husbands. "I knew all I had to do was follow Slade and Slade would take me to the wire. About two and a half (furlongs) out, Slade was not going anywhere and I thought ‘Oh my God, I better go to plan two’, but I waited until Slade got a break and then I followed him and waited for my time to strike when I got to the outside."
A talented daughter of Peaks and Valleys, bred in Ontario by Kingview Farms, it took Bear’s Gem six starts to find the winner’s circle in a maiden allowance under then rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.
A key equipment change for that maiden score has buoyed the dark bay’s confidence who is since undefeated.
"To start her campaign, she tried to get out all the time so Emma (Wilson) said, ‘Try extension blinker on her,’" explained Baker. "She’s never been beaten since."
Bear’s Gem banked $75,000 in victory, while improving her record to 5-1-3 from 10 career starts.
She returned $6.20, $4.10 and $3.10, pairing with Dance to the Moon ($7, $4.80) for a $38.80 (3-1) exactor. A 3-1-6 (Grace Phil, $13.40 to show) triactor was worth $264.45. Hurricane Lorraine completed a $1 Superfecta (3-1-6-4) worth $2,608.45. State Street was scratched.