Maryland Million Ladies winner Bear Access is slated to switch back to the dirt for a second-level allowance/optional claiming race, contested at 1 1/8 miles today at Laurel Park.
The four-year-old daughter of Gators N Bears scored the biggest upset in Maryland Million history back in October when she led the Ladies from gate to wire to score by three parts of a length at odds of 66-1. It’s her only win in five turf tries.
In one race since, Bear Access, out of the stake-winning Devil’s Bag mare Media Access, finished tenth, and last, against allowance company on the lawn, though beaten just four lengths. That race’s winner, Two Wonders, also won her next start.
Bear Access owns two wins from six tries on the main track. The Larry Murray trainee, owned and bred by Howard Bender, is 4-1 on the morning line. Horacio Karamanos will ride Bear Access for the tenth consecutive race.
While Bear Access fits with the likes of these, the biggest challenge for her may be the probable pace scenario. Several other runners — including speedy Brenda’s Way, Drink On This, and Nickyrocksforpops — like to be on the engine early. That sets up the possibility of plenty of early pace.
The likely beneficiaries of a speed duel would be the two favorites: 8-5 Lionhearted Lady and 2-1 Luna Time. Lionhearted Lady won a first allowance last out for trainer Hamilton Smith, sitting off a four-horse scramble before moving readily to command and drawing off to win by almost six lengths. Xavier Perez will ride. Luna Time, trained by Graham Motion, most recently was second at the same level and has won two of six starts. She’ll have Trevor McCarthy in the irons.
Post time for the race, which is race eight, is 3:55.