05/05/2003 11:00PM

It's Morey vs. Morey in sprint feature


SAN MATEO, Calif. - On Sunday morning, Bill Morey (William E. Morey) advised Bill Morey (his father, William J. Morey Jr.) that he was entering Sempai in Thursday's feature at Bay Meadows, at which point Morey the father told Morey the son that he was entering Texas Chili.

"We figured if we could get three more, the race would go," said the younger Morey. "We just happened to talk that day. Lots of times we end up entered against each other and don't even know it."

Sempai and Texas Chili may be the horses to beat in the $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

"This could be one of those $60,000 overnight stakes," (father) Morey Jr. said, after choosing this spot instead of Sunday's $60,000-added Saratoga Handicap, which will also be run at six furlongs.

Sempai won seven of 10 starts last year. He has gone three for six, including a victory in the Ernest Finley Handicap at Santa Rosa, sincebeing claimed for $40,000 by Gene Johnson. He will be making his first start for Morey after running for Lonnie Arterburn last year.

The speedster has drawn the rail for his first race since Oct. 2, but the sharp Trickey Trevor, who drew the post 5, has produced faster fractions this year than Sempai did last year.

Jockey Russell Baze will have to gun Sempai from the rail, but he may find himself in a duel with Trickey Trevor that could set things up for Texas Chili.

"This race doesn't come up perfect for him," young Morey admits. "I haven't had him before so I'm not sure exactly how fit he is. When you work him, you don't have to urge him. He just goes. He's not 100 percent. I don't think he's as tight as he can be.

"He's beaten me a lot of times so I'm kind of excited to run him. Hopefully, if he gets good for the summer, we can compete in some stakes again."

Texas Chili finished ahead of Sempai in the Sam J. Whiting Memorial Handicap at Pleasanton last summer when Sempai was caught up in a speed duel.

Texas Chili ran third behind Presidio Heights and El Dorado Shooter in the Danville Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on March 22 in his first start in nearly nine months since the Whiting. He was fifth to Presidio Heights in the Atherton Handicap here on April 19.

"His last race didn't work out because he's a difficult horse to handle, and he was fighting with the jockey all the way," Morey Jr. said.

"I'd like him to stalk here. If Sempai and the others come back, he'll be tough."