04/28/2011 1:37PM

Golden Gate Fields: San Francisco Mile pits father vs. son


Scoring a victory in a graded race is reward enough for any trainer, but there is a race within the race in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields.

The secondary race is a match race between father and son as Bill Morey Jr. sends out millionaire and defending champion Bold Chieftain and his son Billy sends out the stakes winner Hudson Landing, who is undefeated in three starts over Golden Gate’s turf course, including last year’s Alcatraz.

Both father and son know they will have to beat the other to win the one-mile turf race.

“We had Billy over for Easter dinner, and we talked about a lot of things, but we didn’t talk about the San Francisco Mile,” said the father, Bill Morey Jr.

The two have seven rivals, including a pair of Southern California invaders – Blue Chagall and Sebastian Flyte.

Bold Chieftain, now 8, scored his first graded stakes win in last year’s San Francisco Mile, which was a Grade 2 in 2010. Bold Chieftain was retired last year and headed to stud duty, but the farm where he was supposed to stand was suddenly closed, so he’s back at the track.

“We were tickled to get that graded stakes win,” said Bill Morey Jr. “We didn’t expect to be defending our title.”

Bold Chieftain has raced once this year, closing for second behind Northern California’s top sprinter Goggles McCoy in a six-furlong race March 13.

“We wanted to know if he still had that will to win,” said Morey. “He’s training well, but is he dead-solid fit? He might need one more race.”

There is no question about the fitness of Hudson Landing, who controlled the pace in winning a one-mile allowance prep for his third win over the course on April 2.

“We’re ready,” said Billy Morey. “Everything’s gone perfectly.”

Blue Chagall was a Group 3 winner in his native France and has won three U.S. stakes. He drew the outside post in a field of nine. Blue Chagall was second, beaten a half-length by Liberian Freighter in the Grade 2 Arcadia on April 9 at this distance on the Santa Anita turf while earning a career-high 101 Beyer. Liberian Freighter followed up his victory in the Arcadia by winning the Grade 3 Inglewood last Sunday at Hollywood Park.

Sebastian Flyte, coming off an April 7 allowance victory, could also prove tough with Patrick Valenzuela coming north to ride. A 4-year-old British-bred, Sebastian Flyte lost a photo in last year’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and was also group-placed in Ireland and Britain.

There is much more depth in the race, including the Frank Lucarelli-trained Gallant Son, who won last year’s Grade 3 Inglewood on the turf and four other stakes.

Dream Nettie won the 2010 La Puente on the turf before running second to Hudson Landing in the Alcatraz. Our Nautique has a first and second in two starts over the course and comes off a second at the distance in Santa Anita’s March Madness Handicap on March 26. Times Gone By has a pair of fourth-place finishes in Grade 1 stakes, while Baton Roo makes his stakes and turf debut after winning his past two starts at this distance.