05/24/2011 1:50PM

Golden Gate: Old-timers Bold Chieftain, Delightful Kiss to meet in Berkeley Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Bold Chieftain will look to bounce back in Monday’s Grade 3 Berkeley.

What do millionaires Bold Chieftain and Delightful Kiss have to prove in Monday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap?

Nothing, according to trainers Bill Morey Jr. and Aggie Ordonez.

They are right, of course, although it might be at least poetic justice if Bold Chieftain could win the race after losing by a head to Autism Awareness in 2009 and by the same margin to Run It last year.

The 8-year-old Bold Chieftain has earned $1,558,291 with 17 victories in 40 starts. Seven-year-old Delightful Kiss, who won the Grade 3 All American here in 2008 and was fifth in last year’s Berkeley, has earned $1,093,593, with 7 victories in 32 starts.

Bold Chieftain was expected to be enjoying life as a stallion, but the farm where he was living and preparing for stallion duties suddenly was sold last year. Morey, a co-owner and breeder of the durable Cal-bred, brought him back to the track and has seen him run second in a sprint prep and then fourth in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile this year.

Delightful Kiss ran third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap last year, but was winless in seven starts and did not run again after finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar on July 30.

Some might wonder why, with nothing to prove, both runners are still competing, even though they’re probably eligible for equine Social Security.

One reason: Both love being racehorses.

“He’s given us signals,” Morey said of Bold Chieftain. “He’s happy with what he’s doing. He’s wanting to do this. He’s happy and staying right on schedule.”

Delightful Kiss has been a “wonderful part of my life and my dad’s [Peter Anderson] life,” Ordonez said.

However, Delightful Kiss is not in her barn for sentimental reasons.

“He likes to be at the track,” she said. “He’s all racehorse. It’s what he loves to do. I can’t picture him going around in circles in a pasture or a trail right now. He has plenty of run in him.”

Morey is still trying to arrange a place for Bold Chieftain to stand as a stallion. But the breeding end of the business is not robust right now, and durability plus a record with victories on turf, dirt, mud, and synthetics apparently isn’t appealing.

But Morey would not hesitate for an instant to retire Bold Chieftain, if the horse showed any sign that he was no longer interested in racing.

“We knew he was a good horse, but he’s done so much more than we’ve ever thought of,” Morey said. “As long as he wants to be here, he’ll be here.”

Ordonez said it’s the same with her 7-year-old gelding.

“The horse comes first,” she said. “Kiss is leading the way. When we make a decision, it will be what he decides. We’ve never pushed him.”

There’s life in the old boys yet.

In his final work for the Berkeley, Bold Chieftain had a best-of-20, six-furlong bullet drill of 1:12.40 on Sunday. Delightful Kiss had a 1:27.00 seven-furlong bullet work the same day, following a 1:12.60 six-furlong bullet on May 15 when he galloped out a mile in 1:43.

Morey said going into the San Francisco Mile that Bold Chieftain probably needed one more race to be at his best, and the trainer is very confident going into the Berkeley.

Russell Baze will again ride Bold Chieftain, but it’s the only mount he’ll have as he serves a three-day suspension May 29-30 and June 2 for failure to make a proper effort to maintain a straight course in the stretch and causing interference in his race aboard Stufdrmsrmadeof in Saturday’s sixth race.

Locals one-two in Fran’s Valentine

Local runners finished first and second in the $70,000 Fran’s Valentine, a one-mile turf race for Cal-breds at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Logical Single, trained by Dean Pederson, held off the Steve Specht-trained Lady Railrider to win the race by a half-length while surviving a foul claim by Lady Railrider’s jockey, Frank Alvarado, against Logical Single’s rider, Chantel Sutherland.

U R All That I Am, the Work the Crowd winner here for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, ran fourth.

On Saturday, Ultra Blend, who has raced and trained here, won the Grade 2 Milady at Hollywood Park for trainer Art Sherman after St. Trinians was disqualified from first and placed fourth.

◗ Golden Gate Fields runs five consecutive days because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. Sunday will be the usual Dollar Day, with a concert by Busta-Groove, who will return Monday for Family Day with another concert. Family Day activities for youngsters including pony rides, face painting, and balloon artists. The track also is giving away a stadium chair to all paying patrons.