07/05/2007 11:00PM

Bold Chieftain looks ready


PLEASANTON, Calif. – Sunday's closing-day $50,000 Alamedan Handicap at the Alameda County Fair is one of those glass half-full or half-empty affairs. Only four runners entered the 1 1/16-mile race, but each is a stakes winner.

The field includes the past two winners of the Claiming Crown Jewel, Desert Boom from 2005, who won that race on the heels of capturing the Grade 3 Berkeley at Golden Gate Fields, and Me My Mine, who won the Jewel as well as the Phil Shepherd at Fairplex last year.

He's the Rage and Bold Chieftain are the other two in the race. He's the Rage won the Cal Cup Juvenile in 2003 and has finished first or second in his past four starts. He was re-claimed by trainer Ted West in his last start.

Bold Chieftain won last fall's Hayes Valley at Golden Gate Fields. Also last year he was second in the Gradeo3 Bay Meadows Derby and third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows and Real Good Deal at Del Mar.

The 4-year-old Bold Chieftain has 4 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds in 9 starts. Off since November, he ran second in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race June 3 at Hollywood Park, and has had two works over the track here since.

"If he runs the way he did at Hollywood Park, he'll be a contender," trainer Bill Morey said. "The jockey on the favorite kept packing us out and left a big opening on the rail for the winner, but he ran a good, game race."

Morey said he was concerned with Bold Chieftain's slow 1:28.80 seven-furlong drill last Saturday.

"He seems to be fine, but his last work, he didn't go anywhere," Morey said. "He looked like he was just out for a walk in the park."

Me My Mine and Desert Boom may have seen better days but are still threats.

Me My Mine has 2 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds this year, and was re-claimed on April 15 by trainer John Martin, who guided him to his success last year.

Desert Boom, who went to the sidelines after a dramatic victory over Declan's Moon last July at Hollywood Park, has run three times this year. He showed improvement in his last start, a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Berkeley on June 2 at Golden Gate Fields.

He's the Rage has recorded four straight Beyers or 90 and above.