03/15/2011 12:34PM

Golden Gate: Goggles McCoy, Bold Chieftain return

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Benoit & Associates
Goggles McCoy, here winning the Real Good Deal Stakes last year, looked strong in winning his comeback on Sunday at Golden Gate Fields.

Arguably the best sprinter and best router at Golden Gate Fields made their comebacks Sunday, with Goggles McCoy and Bold Chieftain running one-two in a strong six-furlong allowance sprint.

Goggles McCoy, who made his 4-year-old debut, grabbed the lead out of the gate under Aaron Gryder and was never seriously challenged in defeating Bold Chieftain by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:09.70. Goggles McCoy is 3 for 3 at Golden Gate Fields, while Bold Chieftain had his seventh exacta finish in eight Golden Gate starts.

Goggles McCoy’s impressive comeback victory highlighted a big week for trainer Steve Sherman, who won 10 races from 17 starters and also had 2 seconds 2 thirds. He scored wins in four straight races Friday, and Goggles McCoy was the first of four consecutive winners for Sherman on Sunday.

“It was definitely a great week,” said Sherman, who has 35 winners at the meet.

Both runners came out of the race fine.

Sherman said he would “play it by ear” with the 4-year-old Goggles McCoy, an In Excess gelding bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shapiro. Goggles McCoy, who won his first four starts, including the $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar, is now 5 for 7 lifetime with $158,580 in earnings.

“He came back and ran a really good race,” said Sherman. “It was a good test against older. We’ll see how he trains before deciding on his next start.

“He got a little tired late, but I thought Aaron did a good job relaxing him on the front end.”

In addition to Bold Chieftain, an 8-year-old multiple stakes winner, the field included the stakes winner Posse Power as well as Paul’s Hope, and favored Don Tito.

The Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on the turf is next up for Bold Chieftain, said trainer Bill Morey Jr. The $150,000 race is scheduled April 30.

“There’s an allowance race scheduled in three weeks, but then we’d have to race him three times in a short period. That’s just too tight,” said Morey. “We’ll try to do the best we can to train him into the race.”

Bold Chieftain is the defending champion in the San Francisco Mile, which was a Grade 2 last year. The victory was his first in a graded event and was accomplished with just one prep, an allowance victory at a mile three weeks earlier.

Bold Chieftain was retired last year and was being prepared for life as a stallion, but the farm where he was to stand shut down last fall. Morey, a partner in the group that bred and races the millionaire, was unable to get his star situated at another farm.

Jockey Russell Baze was pleased with the effort of Bold Chieftain, who rallied along the rail to edge Don Tito by a head for second.

“He ran a really good race,” said Baze. “He’ll run inside of horses but he really doesn’t like it. If I could have gotten him outside he might have been tough to beat. That was a pretty good prep for his next race.”

Baze, as instructed, galloped the veteran out after the race.

“He got more than three-quarters out of the race,” said Morey.