Stakes winner Bear Paw, a 4-year-old daughter of Bear's Kid, goes after her first graded score in Sunday's Grade 3 $125,000 Trillium Stakes at Woodbine in Canada.
Trained by Ashlee Brnjas, the ultra-consistent Ontario-bred heads into the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta event off a pair of impressive starts at the Toronto oval, including a win in her most recent test on May 26.
Under Luis Contreras, Bear Paw, the 2-5 mutuel favorite, rallied to eke out a head victory at the Trillium distance.
The win gave the filly, co-owned by Colebrook Farms and Bear Stables, a lifetime record of three wins, six seconds, and one third from 12 starts.
Brnjas is feeling good heading into Sunday's tilt, one that has drawn some notable names in multiple stakes winner Dixie Moon, 2018 La Prevoyante Stakes champ She's The Berries, and last year's Grade 3 Selene Stakes winner Miss Mo Mentum.
“We're in good order,” said Brnjas. “There are a lot of nice horses in this race, but I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I feel very privileged to train this horse.”
Bred by Brnjas' father, John, the man behind Colebrook Farms, Bear Paw posted a record of 2-5-1 in 10 starts last season, her first campaign at the races.
One of those victories came in the Classy 'n Smart Stakes on September 30.
Fourth at the stretch call in the 1 1/16-mile main track feature, Bear Paw split foes and earned a hard-fought head win, paying $12 for the milestone (first stakes victory) moment.
The idea of a triumph in the Trillium gave Brnjas pause for thought. It also prompted her to offer up an NBA comparison.
“On race day, Bear Paw's all business. That's when she puts her Jurassic Park game-face on. I've become a Toronto Raptors fan because of my husband. So if I had to pick one player on the team she reminds me of, it would be (Toronto guard) Kyle Lowry. They both go out there and get it done.”
The Raptors have their opportunity to win an NBA crown Thursday night. Brnjas and Co. will have to wait until Sunday for their shot at glory.
Last year, jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva teamed with Gamble's Ghost to take the Trillium, paying $9.30 for the win.
The Trillium is Race 8 on Sunday's 10-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE GRADE 3 $125,000 TRILLIUM
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Tapa Tapa Tapa – Jesse Campbell – Timothy Hamm
2 – Miss Mo Mentum – Jerome Lermyte – Mark Casse
3 – Bear Paw – Justin Stein – Ashlee Brnjas
4 – Dixie Moon – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Catherine Day Phillips
5 – She's The Berries – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
6 – Lunar Garden – Rafael Hernandez – Stuart Simon
7 – Summer Luck – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
8 – Cartabianca – Steven Bahen – Roger Attfield
9 – Ladies Night – Alan Garcia – Gail Cox
10 – Giovanna Blues – Gary Boulanger – Francine Villeneuve
11 – Hot Cash – Luis Contreras – Michael Doyle
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