04/23/2008 11:00PM

New faces join old turf rivals


The next round for Northern California supremacy between Bold Chieftain and Now Victory takes place Saturday in the $125,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Trouble is, those two are by no means cinches to dominate the 1 1/16-mile turf race because a couple tough Southern Californians - Heroi Do Bafra and Boboman - have decided to try and horn in on their action.

Still, Bold Chieftain and Now Victory figure to attract the most attention in the field of seven. They ran one-two in the March Madness going a mile on the local turf course on March 22. Now Victory, trained by Dean Pederson, used his customary speed to open up a huge lead. Bold Chieftain, trained by Bill Morey Jr., was content to chase, and he reeled in Now Victory for a one-length victory.

Bold Chieftain has won 9 of 17, and has done much of his best work with Russell Baze aboard. He and Baze team up again here and carry high weight of 121 pounds. Bold Chieftain's versatility gives him the option to chase Now Victory from the start or bide his time and make a run.

The 7-year-old Now Victory leaves no doubt as to his tactics. He blasts out of the gate and figures to do it again here under regular rider Frank Alvarado. While he lost going a mile and must deal with another half-furlong, Now Victory has shown before this distance is right up his alley. He's not only 4 for 9 at this trip, but he won this race a year ago in front-running fashion. A six-furlong bullet work in 1:14 at Golden Gate on April 14 indicates he's fit and ready.

Heroi Do Bafra, trained by Bobby Frankel, cannot be taken lightly. He was second locally in the Seabiscuit at this same distance last Nov. 3. Heroi Do Bafra comes off a pair of seconds in allowance turf races at Santa Anita. He was a multiple Group 1 winner in his native Brazil back in 2006. Luis Contreras rides.

Boboman also has a touch of class. In fact, he captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2006. Boboman was sidelined by injury the second half of 2007 and was sixth in his March 17 comeback race at Santa Anita. He might now be set to move forward under Brice Blanc.