07/02/2011 10:14AM

Pleasanton: Millionaire Bold Chieftain tops Alamedan

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Benoit & Associates
Bold Chieftain will try to add to his $1.5 million bankroll in the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton.

A millionaire has never competed at the Alameda County Fair, but that will change when Bold Chieftain and Delightfull Kiss line up against five others in the $50,000 Alamedan Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for older horses at the Pleasanton, Calif., track.

Bold Chieftain has earned $1,578,291 and Delightful Kiss has earned $1,093,593. The 8-year-old Bold Chieftain won this race in 2007 and ran second in it in 2009 before he surpassed the million-dollar mark in earnings. The 7-year-old Delightful Kiss makes his debut over the Pleasanton dirt track.

With Delightful Kiss a closer on a track that often favors speed, Bold Chieftain seems the one to beat in the Alamedan. Bold Chieftain, who has a stalking style, is looking for his first win of the year after losing a photo in the Grade 3 Berkeley at Golden Gate Fields. It was the third straight year he lost a photo in the Tapeta race.

Breeder-owner-trainer Bill Morey Jr. says that Bold Chieftain enjoys life at the racetrack and continues to run well.

“My main concern is has he lost a step?” said Morey, adding that he thought the Bold Chieftain of 2010 would have won this year’s Berkeley.

“Last year, I don’t think that horse (Uh Oh Bongo) would have beaten him," he said.

Bold Chieftain is back running after briefly being retired last year and sent to a farm where he was to begin life as a stallion. When the farm was unexpectedly sold, he returned to the track.

“I know the horse pretty well,” said Morey, who marvels that the old-timer still is posting Beyers in the 90s. “We try to give him time between races and then see what’s available. There are no easy spots for him now, but we try to find the softest spots we can.”

While the Alamedan is probably softer than Bold Chieftain’s last two starts – the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and the Berkeley – it is not easy.

Autism Awareness, who handed Bold Chieftain his initial Berkeley defeat, is entered, as are graded stakes winner El Gato Malo, the stakes winner Slew the Man, and the graded-stakes-placed Honour the Deputy. Pode Ir, whose last start was in the Santa Anita Handicap, rounds out the field.

Morey is proud to bring Bold Chieftain back to Pleasanton, where he has become a fan favorite.

“I want to bring my best horse to Pleasanton every year,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here, and I like coming back.