09/20/2007 12:00AM

Trainer high on Bold Chieftain

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainers are often loath to compare current stars to past stars, but if Bill Morey Jr. is correct in his assessment of Bold Chieftain, his 10 rivals will have to be at the top of their game to have a shot at winning Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Morey trained millionaire Dixie Dot Com, winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando and San Pasqual handicaps and runner-up in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and Grade 1 Pacific Classic.

"Dixie Dot Com is the best horse I ever had, but this horse is gaining on Dixie," he said of Bold Chieftain, who comes into the 1 1/8-mile turf race seeking his third straight stakes victory.

Gone seven months after having a small chip removed from his right front ankle, Bold Chieftain rebounded from a second-place finish in a June 3 sprint prep at Hollywood Park to win the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton on July 8 and the $125,000 California Dreamin' Handicap on the turf at Del Mar on Aug. 3.

Because Bold Chieftain came back in less than a month in the California Dreamin', Morey decided to pass on the $100,000 California Turf Championship at Bay Meadows on Aug. 25 and point for the Bay Meadows BC.

"I didn't want to run my horse back in three weeks again," Morey said. "You don't like to run good horses often because they try so hard and the competition is tougher.

"When you have better horses, there's frustration when you pass a race with a big purse, but you have to be prudent."

Morey decided his best bet would be to train Bold Chieftain up to the Bay Meadows BC. The 4-year-old colt has five works since his last start, his final one a bullet six furlongs in 1:12.40 on Saturday at Pleasanton.

Morey has some concern about the distance, but said his main exercise rider Mario Cisneros told him the colt "can run all day."

Bold Chieftain is aggressive but showed in the California Dreamin' that he can rate behind a brisk pace.

"That's a plus that he can rate," Morey said. "To do 1 1/8 miles, he'll have to do that."

The speedy Now Victory and Sweet Roberto, who is coming off a wire-to-wire win at Del Mar, are drawn outside Bold Chieftain and will provide pace. Isipingo, a strong third in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile, and the Grade 2 winner Chattahoochee War should get trips similar to Bold Chieftain's.

Sitting behind the speed will be Jack's Wild, whose strong closing kick helped him win the California Turf Championship here.