Dismissed as the second longest shot in the field at 15-1, Killer Bear gained the lead inside the final sixteenth of a mile to win by a half-length. The final time for the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track was 1:29.94.
Owned by a partnership that includes B G Stable, Louis Giordano, Scott Rudolph, Selman Shaby and Joe Thomas, Killer Bear was ridden by Tyler Baze, who won his first stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park since taking the Golden State Cup aboard Lucky Primo June 23, 2011.
Originally claimed for $25,000 by Mullins for the same partnership out of a fourth place finish in an optional claimer June 22 at Betfair Hollywood Park, Killer Bear won for his new connections July 18 – Del Mar’s opening day – but was claimed again for the same price.
When Killer Bear surfaced in a $32,000 claimer Aug. 4, Mullins took the bay back. Killer Bear finished off the board in two subsequent races at Del Mar and Santa Anita before his success Saturday.
“We’ve always liked this horse and the owners wanted to take him back,’’ said Mullins. “They all had fun with him (July 18). They were ahead money wise, so they decided to go back in for him.
“If you look back on his past performances, seven-eighths of a mile is his best lick. It was definitely a step up, but he drew nice and the race set up for him.’’
Perfect in two prior starts over Cushion Track, Macho Dorado dispatched of early pace foes Maui Mark, Legal Separation and – briefly – Red Sun to take a clear advantage into the stretch, but couldn’t contain the winner. He wound up 5 ¼ lengths clear of third place finisher Mensa Heat, who had won the On Trust a year earlier.
Macho Dorado returned $3.40 and $2.60 while the show price on Mensa Heat was $3. Completing the order of finish were Huntsville, Legal Separation, Red Sun and Maui Mark. Bud I Scratched It was scratched Saturday morning.
Racing will resume Sunday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 10 a.m.
In the day’s main event, Sparkling Style, who has won two California bred stakes over Cushion Track, will try for another in the $75,000 Cat’s Cradle Handicap.
Successful in the 2011 Alphabet Kisses and the Warren’s Thoroughbred earlier this year, Sparkling Style, who is owned by Arnold Zetcher LLC and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will have six opponents in the race at 7 ½ furlongs.