09/08/2006 12:00AM

Bold Chieftain in turf experiment


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Bill Morey Jr. has always liked Bold Chieftain.

The 3-year-old colt ran third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby behind Cause to Believe in his fourth career start and ran third in his next start 6 1/2 months later, the $100,000 Real Good Deal at Del Mar.

While Bold Chieftain has enjoyed more success than his rivals, he faces a new challenge in Sunday's Golden Gate Fields feature, when he makes his turf debut in a one-mile allowance race.

Six signed up for the race, with one, stakes-winning Passive Income, entered only if the race switches to the main track, which seems unlikely. Although he is a stakes winner, Passive Income lost to Bold Chieftain when both made their route debuts at Bay Meadows last December.

The turf may give an advantage to Two Trails, who has three victories on grass, two of them in a row, including an allowance race at Del Mar in his last start, as well as Bedlam Bertie and A Firm Storm, both of whom have a pair of turf victories.

Morey concedes the race is a bit of an experiment, but he said he believes Bold Chieftain may like the turf more than his Tomlinson rating suggests.

"The mare and her offspring have run well on the turf," he said, "and he has big, round, wide feet, so I think the turf should be to his liking."

Morey was disappointed when a shin problem forced Bold Chieftain to the sidelines after the El Camino in January. The colt was never turned out, but Morey didn't rush him back. When he did come back, he was bigger and seemingly better.

"He's a nice colt, and he really ran a game race in his comeback," Morey said. "He drew the rail at seven-eighths of a mile. He got passed in the lane, but he didn't lose ground after he was passed. He wasn't facing the top colts down there, but there were some good ones."

According to Morey, Bold Chieftain is currently running at 100 percent. "It could be a real exciting 4-year-old year," he said.

A good effort on the turf Sunday will increase his options.

With regular rider Russell Baze aboard, Bold Chieftain looms the one to catch in the race.

With three works since he last raced, including a seven-furlong move, he should be more than fit enough to handle the distance, and Morey shows a flat-bet profit with runners in their second starts following layoffs.