04/19/2009 11:00PM

San Francisco Mile to have a familiar look


At least eight horses are being pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 San Francisco Mile, which will be run on Saturday after a one-year hiatus because of the way the Northern California racing calendar fell last year.

Ferneley, Yacht Spotter, and Bold Chieftain, the one-two-three finishers in an April 3 allowance on turf here, may be rematched in the Mile, also on turf.

Ferneley was beaten by three-quarters of a length in a pair of Grade 2 turf stakes at Santa Anita before his allowance win. Ferneley ran third to Artiste Royal, a Mile nominee, in the San Marcos at 1 1/4 miles, and second to Proudinsky in the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel.

Ferneley exploded in the one-mile allowance prep here, beating Yacht Spotter by 3 1/4 lengths. He covered the distance in 1:35.96 and notched a 106 Beyer.

He completed preparations for the Mile with an easy 1:02 five-furlong work on the turf at Santa Anita on Sunday.

"I think he liked the turf up there, and I see he has the highest Beyer on grass," trainer Ben Cecil said from Southern California. "I think we've decided he's best suited for a mile."

Cecil has been able to concentrate on getting Ferneley ready for the Mile since his allowance score.

"It makes it easier when you prepare for a specific race," Cecil said. "This horse is doing better than he was going into the last race."

Cecil said the horse will be shipped here Thursday for Saturday's race and will stay in Armando Lage's barn.

One change will be that Cecil has picked up leading rider Russell Baze, who rode Bold Chieftain in the allowance.

Bold Chieftain will probably run in the Mile, although he could go instead in the Khaled for California-breds on the Hollywood turf during Gold Rush Day, also on Saturday, according to trainer Bill Morey Jr.

Morey cited the Mile's $300,000 purse, double that of the Khaled, and the fact that Bold Chieftain doesn't have to travel as reasons for running at Golden Gate on Saturday. Also, Morey believes the distance of the Mile is better for Bold Chieftain than the 1 1/8 miles of the Khaled.

Bold Chieftain had a strong 1:11.80 six-furlong won on April 13.

"He seems to be waking up," Morey said.

Morey said that Bold Chieftain would be ridden by Roberto Gonzalez, who won the 2008 President's Day Handicap at Bay Meadows in his lone ride aboard Bold Chieftain.

"I feel very comfortable with Bobby Gonzalez," Morey said.

In addition to the top three finishers from the April 3 race, Autism Awareness, the upset winner of last year's El Camino Real Derby, is scheduled to make his turf debut in the San Francisco Mile. Siren Lure, who has won three straight since his return to Northern California, will also run.

Free sports bags will be given away Saturday.

* Post time switches to 1:15 p.m. from 12:45 p.m. beginning Wednesday.