07/30/2010 1:31PM

Bold Chieftain's racing career comes to end

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The racing career of Bold Chieftain – which lasted nearly five years, featured 17 wins, 13 stakes wins, and earnings of more than $1.5 million – ended with a last-place finish in the California Dreamin’ Handicap at Del Mar last Sunday.

It was a disappointing result for the 7-year-old, and one that led trainer and co-owner Bill Morey to announce earlier this week that Bold Chieftain was done racing and would be sent to stud in 2011, hopefully in California.

“He started bleeding on me,” Morey said. “He retired sound. We couldn’t stop the bleeding. We tried a little something. We thought we could get another race out of him, and it didn’t work. We’ll take care of him.”

Stud farm plans are uncertain, though Morey said he has received inquiries from potential locations.

“We have a couple of coals in the fire, but nothing is set,” Morey said. “We’d like to see him stay in California.”

Bold Chieftain was a winner at 2, won stakes ranging in distances from a mile to 1 1/8 miles and in prestige ranging from the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on turf in April and $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita in January to five stakes worth $100,000 or less throughout the state.

“He won 17 races and 13 stakes,” Morey said. “He never left California.”

Aside from Morey, Bold Chieftain raced for Dwaine Hall, the trust of Ernest Langbein, and Kenneth Robinson. Bold Chieftain is by Chief Seattle, a stallion by Seattle Slew who was second to Anees in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Gulfstream Park. Bold Chieftain is out of Hooked on Music, who was stakes-placed in a three-year career and has produced two other stakes-placed runners aside from Bold Chieftain.

Bold Chieftain raced for such a long time that he beat maidens at 2 at Golden Gate Fields in 2005 on a dirt surface, before most of California’s main-track surfaces were converted to synthetic tracks. Just last September, Bold Chieftain won the final start of his career on a dirt track, in the Governor’s Handicap at Cal-Expo in Sacramento.

The Governor’s Handicap was the first of six stakes wins in a seven-race span that were the highlight of Bold Chieftain’s six-season career.

He won the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita last October, inheriting the lead when leader Grazen was pulled up in the stretch, and then won the minor San Quentin Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in November.

After finishing fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita in early January in his 2010 debut, Bold Chieftain reeled off three consecutive wins – the Sunshine Millions Classic, an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields, and the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile there on turf.

The Sunshine Millions Classic was his most dramatic win. Ridden by Russell Baze, Bold Chieftain was sixth with a furlong to go, appearing to be hopelessly stuck in traffic when steadied. Baze found a sliver of space, guided Bold Chieftain between horses, and rallied to win by a neck over Palladio.

There was talk last winter of retiring Bold Chieftain, but he stayed in training and was successful in the spring, winning the San Francisco Mile.

Morey was cautious before the California Dreamin’, worried that missed time would prevent Bold Chieftain from running his best race. He said the California Dreamin’ or the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 28 would be Bold Chieftain’s final start, depending on the California Dreamin’ result. When Bold Chieftain ran a disappointing race, his career was over.