05/31/2010 11:00PM

Run It cheers up hospitalized trainer


ALBANY, Calif. - Dennis Patterson didn't have much choice about entering Run It in Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

"The opportunities to run are pretty limited," he explained after committing to the race that included millionaires Bold Chieftain and Delightful Kiss.

The presence of Bold Chieftain, who had beaten Run It while winning the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile and an allowance race in April, made Patterson a little leery about his chances. Bold Chieftain had also dominated Run It in the San Quentin last November.

But, Patterson reasoned the Berkeley was a good springboard to stakes on the summer fair circuit, and there was good money for hitting the board.

In a paceless race, Patterson changed tactics, got a perfect ride by Chad Schvaneveldt, and saw Run It, a 4-year-old Mercedes Stable homebred colt by Cherokee Run, earn his second stakes victory while becoming a graded winner.

Patterson didn't actually see Run It win. He was confined to bed in Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital, but the race went exactly as he pictured it.

"We haven't been successful with our previous game plan against Bold Chieftain, so we were hoping to get the jump on him," Patterson said in a phone interview from his hospital bed.

Instead of laying back behind Bold Chieftain as he had recently, Run It took the lead. He won the race, surviving a head-and-head duel with Bold Chieftain in the stretch, recapturing the lead at the wire to win a photo.

The race was likely won early when Run It was allowed to lope on the lead through fractions of 25.62 seconds, 50.48, and 1:14.23.

"My horse is a game little horse, but to beat Bold Chieftain is something," said Patterson, who was admitted to Alta Bates after spending most of Sunday night vomiting.

Schvaneveldt said Bold Chieftain passed him several times during the stretch duel, but he always felt confident.

"When I got away with such a soft half-mile, I knew he would give me all he had down the stretch," said Schvaneveldt. "Bold Chieftain got by me a couple times, but my horse is a fighter, and he just kept digging. When I got into my horse left-handed, he gave me a bit more."

Schvaneveldt, whose agent is Dennis Patterson, the trainer's son, said he wished the trainer, who turns 75 next week, could have seen the victory live.

"He's done a great job with this horse, and he's the classiest guy you'll ever meet."

Patterson will look at the Alamedan at Pleasanton and the Joseph Grace on turf at Santa Rosa for Run It.

Bold Chieftain's stallion career on hold

The loss, though disappointing, will not change trainer Bill Morey Jr.'s plans for Bold Chieftain, who he will point to races in Southern California and possibly the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

Morey, who is also a co-breeder and co-owner of the 7-year-old Bold Chieftain, is still looking to place his star as a stallion.

South African concerns showed some interest, but have not done any substantial follow-up after their initial contact with Morey's ranch manager. Bold Chieftain's first graded stakes victory in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile in April has opened eyes in Kentucky.

Morey wishes there were more interest in California for his Cal-bred son of Chief Seattle, but the economy continues to have a negative impact on California breeding.

"He might be better off standing in a different state," said Mike Allen of Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. "It's so hard even for proven stallions to get mares. He might consider Pennsylvania or New Mexico, where they get money from slots."

John Harris, owner of Harris Farms, says that while there is interest in Bold Chieftain as a stallion, the reality is, "he could make more money as a racehorse this year. His best career is being a racehorse while the [breeding] industry is not that good."

Cal Fischer of Madera Thoroughbreds said, "Bold Chieftain has the race record, but one thing that holds him back is most people won't commit mares right now."

Morey has only two broodmares, one being Bold Chieftain's dam, and admits he can't automatically assure a number of first-year breedings to produce a solid crop of early runners.

* Leading apprentice Alex Gonzalez, fifth in the Golden Gate jockey standings, begins riding in Southern California this week. Monday was his final day in Northern California, and he leaves with 64 wins.

* Advance wagering on the Belmont Stakes will be offered Friday. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Pacific on Saturday for simulcast wagering of the Belmont Stakes card with first post at 11:45 a.m. for live races.

* A wine-tasting festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday with wines for sampling from the East Bay Vintner's Alliance, a collection of 21 urban wineries. Wine tastings are five for $20 or 12 for $30.