02/16/2008 12:00AM

Two seek rebounds in Presidents Day Mile


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainers Bill Morey Jr. and Steve Specht both looked for red pens following the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 26 at Santa Anita.

Then they drew red lines through the performance lines of Bold Chieftain and McCann's Mojave, who finished seventh and 10th in that $1 million, 1 1/8-mile race.

Morey, who trains Bold Chieftain, and Specht, trainer of McCann's Mojave, hope they won't need red pens Monday when their stars run in the $55,000 Presidents Day Mile at Bay Meadows.

They have four rivals: the Todd Pletcher-trained It's a Bird, sixth in the Feb. 2 Thunder Road at Santa Anita following a nine-month layoff; Plug Me In, third in a New Mexico stakes in his last start; and the uncoupled Jerry Hollendorfer entry of Putmeinyourwill and Amazin Blue.

Morey is hoping that Bold Chieftain will return to the form he showed in winning the Alamedan, California Dreamin, and Cal Cup Classic last year. In his last two starts he finished sixth in the Grade 3 Native Diver at Hollywood Park in December and then seventh in the Sunshine Millions Classic.

"He's been a little disappointing of late," Morey said. "He's just not covering the ground like he used to.

"I don't know if he's on the verge of a big race or needing a little time off."

Morey sent Bold Chieftain to Santa Anita before the Sunshine Millions to get a work over the Cushion Track there, but rain and subsequent drainage problems halted training there.

On race day, the track was very fast. Bold Chieftain, who needs things to go his way on the front end to get 1 1/8 miles, was forced to try to rally wide and tired.

"The track was like a landing strip," Morey said. "Some horses like it, but it just didn't seem like he or the other Northern California horses did."

Morey brought Bold Chieftain here Wednesday for a solid 1:00.40 five-furlong work over the dirt.

"I thought it was one of his better works in a long time," Morey said.

Specht said that McCann's Mojave "had a tough trip" in the Sunshine Millions when he finished 10th after having to steady in the lane.

The defending champion in the Sunshine Millions Classic, McCann's Mojave wound up much closer than anticipated chasing a very fast pace and was a little rank. By the time he settled down, he had no room to run, and when he did get going, he got shut off in the lane.

The 8-year-old horse, who is 3 for 3 at Monday's mile distance, has had two nice works since the Classic.