05/24/2010 11:00PM

Bold Chieftain nearing career's end

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ALBANY, Calif. -- "This may be the last time, maybe the last time, I don't know."

No, that's not Bill Morey Jr. doing a little Mick Jagger karaoke. It's Morey talking about millionaire Bold Chieftain's future in Northern California.

The popular 7-year-old will run in Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap in what may be his farewell appearance on a Northern California racetrack.

"I can't say for sure," said Morey, a co-owner and breeder of Bold Chieftain, a winner of 17 races, including the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile in his last start on April 24. "I'm not saying it is, but it could be one of the last times we run him here."

Morey and his partners continue to search for a place that would like to stand Bold Chieftain at stud.

Morey can understand why a horse like Eskendereya, considered the likely Kentucky Derby favorite before a career-ending injury, is a stallion prospect after winning 4 of 6 career starts.

But he can't understand the lack of interest in a runner who has gone to the post 36 times and has run for six years without injury, winning on dirt, wet tracks, synthetic tracks, and turf.

About the only interest in Bold Chieftain as a stallion has come from South Africa, and Morey said the interested party in South Africa has spoken only with his farm manager and not with him.

The San Francisco Mile gave Bold Chieftain his first graded-stakes win, but there are still no serious bids for him as a stallion.

So Bold Chieftain will continue racing, looking south to Hollywood Park and Del Mar for the summer with an eye on the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs as well after Monday's race in the Berkeley.

Bold Chieftain will be meeting another millionaire, Delightful Kiss, who won his lone Golden Gate Fields start in the 2008 Grade 3 All American, and Run It, who has chased Bold Chieftain home in his past two starts.

Aggie Ordonez, who saddled a pair of turf winners on Saturday with Yorkville Kid ($47.80) and Stalking Gold ($29.20), has had Delightful Kiss in her barn for her father, Pete Anderson, since his fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 3.

She said her father may point Delightful Kiss to races at Hollywood Park and Del Mar. She said she hoped the 4-year-old Stalking Gold, who won a $40,000 starter allowance race, would progress enough to run down south this summer as well.

Trainer Dennis Patterson said the stakes-winning Run It will run in the Berkeley because, "It's the only party we can go to. The opportunities to run [in Northern California] are pretty limited."

Run It won two straight before finishing fourth behind Bold Chieftain and Monterey Jazz in an April 2 allowance race and fifth behind the same pair in the San Francisco Mile.

New arrivals scoreTwo new names were added to the jockey standings last week, with 19-year-old apprentice Rosario Montanez scoring his first career victory Thursday aboard Hyper Lass ($10.20) in a $20,000 maiden claimer at five furlongs on the turf and Jose Verenzuela, who has been riding 19 years, scoring his first California victory Saturday aboard favored Super Harmony ($5) in a $10,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Verenzuela, who rode primarily at Louisiana Downs and in Florida in the U.S., has been riding in Dubai most of this decade. He guided Big City Man to victory in the $2 million Golden Shaheen sprint last year.

Montanez, a native of San Diego, is a third-generation rider. His father and grandfather both rode in Mexico.

"It's the best experience of my life. It feels great to win," said Montanez, who was riding in his 23rd race.

He won for trainer Gerard Piccioni, who gave him his first mount on April 17 at Santa Anita.

"The horse I rode at Santa Anita was trained by Mr. Piccioni, so I'm very happy to get my first win with him," said Montanez.

Montanez first came to the track at age 13, getting a job before his true age was discovered, but he continued to come to various farms and the backstretch to watch and learn.

When he was old enough to be licensed, he got a job as a hotwalker and later began galloping horses.

Trainer O.J. Jaurigui alerted agent Ron Freitas after learning of Montanez's interest in riding. Freitas and Montanez talked and agreed that Montanez should get his rider's license in Southern California, where he was already known.

After his initial race at Santa Anita, Montanez moved to Northern California.

"We're taking it slow right now," said Freitas, who says that Montanez will begin to get on more horses when the fair season starts.

Montanez, who weighs only 102 pounds, gets on as many as a dozen horses in the morning and spends time with steward and former rider Paul Nicolo, studying films after workouts end.

"Paul says he pays attention and is a good learner," said Freitas. "He's made a lot of changes already. He's got a great attitude and work ethic."

In his win aboard Hyper Lass, Montanez said he was concerned when favored Chobe Chika pulled even late. But Chobe Chika slipped a bit and bobbled on the turn, losing rider Julien Couton, and Montanez's margin of victory over pacesetting Kilmora was two lengths.

"For a second, I thought the outside horse might beat me, but then I realized it didn't have a jockey," said Montanez.