10/02/2009 11:00PM

Bold Chieftain wins injury-marred Classic


ARCADIA, Calif. - Bold Chieftain won Saturday's $200,000 California Cup Classic when Grazen, the 4-5 favorite, was pulled up by jockey Garrett Gomez while leading past the eighth pole. He did not finish. Bold Chieftain, who was third in early stretch, won by 1 1/2 lengths over the filly Lethal Heat. Star Nicholas finished third, followed by One Chin Again.

Only four of the six runner finished. The longshot Blackbriar was pulled in the final furlong, while racing behind the leaders. He was later euthanized because of sesamoid injuries, according to trainer Matt Chew.

"With fractured sesamoids, there is nothing you can do," Chew said. "It's the one injury that can't be repaired. The only humane thing is to put him down."

Steward Kim Sawyer said that Grazen had a "soft-tissue injury."

Gomez said that he felt Grazen take a funny step in midstretch. "He switched leads and took a funny step," Gomez said. "I gave him his head to make sure I wasn't overreacting. As soon as I felt him take another step, I pulled him up."

Bold Chieftain ($10) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.32.

After the race, Blackbriar was attended to by veterinarian officials first, while Grazen was fitted with a splint that took the weight off his right foreleg. Owner-breeder Nick Alexander and trainer Mike Mitchell were alongside veterinarians and gate crew staff that attended to Grazen. Blackbriar and Grazen were placed in the horse ambulance and vanned off.

Grazen appeared to have the race in command until Gomez pulled him up. The winner of two stakes for 3-year-olds against open company earlier this year, Grazen set a modest pace of 24.22 and 49.46 seconds, repelled a bid from Lethal Heat on the turn, and was in front by a head at the eighth pole before he was pulled up.

The incident overshadowed Bold Chieftain's win under jockey Russell Baze. Owned by a partnership that includes trainer Bill Morey, Bold Chieftain, 6, won the 2007 California Cup Classic and was second in the 2008 Cal Cup Mile.

The California Cup Classic was his second consecutive win, preceded by a five-length win in the Governor's Handicap at Sacramento. Bold Chieftain became a millionaire with the win, having won 13 of 31 starts and $1,038,411.