04/23/2010 12:00AM

Won't be easy to catch Red Sun


Northern California's only Grade 2 stakes event, the San Francisco Mile, is not lacking for story lines. The $150,000 turf event has drawn nine runners, and a case can be made for each.

The field includes Monterey Jazz, a Grade 2 turf winner with a penchant for running on the lead. He set the pace in a one-mile allowance prep on the main track here April 2 while making his first start in nearly six months, and finished second to Bold Chieftain, who may be favored in the San Francisco Mile.

Eight of the runners have won a stakes or at least placed in a graded race. And the ninth entrant, Red Sun, looks like the one to catch and may even be the one to beat.

Red Sun, who is making his stakes debut, has won all three of his turf starts and four straight races since running second in his debut. Owned and bred by Harris Farms and son of 2001 San Francisco Mile winner Redatorre, Red Sun has a "high cruising speed," said trainer Carla Gaines.

Red Sun drew the outside post with Monterey Jazz breaking two slots inside him from post 7. Monterey Jazz usually finds a way to get to the lead, but Red Sun is coming off sprints and may just be quicker.

"We're not going to bottle him up," Gaines said of Red Sun. "He is going to be up there naturally."

Midweek rains have softened the turf course, and Gaines is concerned how that might affect the speed horses Saturday.

"It seems like any race you look at, it's not going to set up perfectly," she said.

A pace duel could set things up for Bold Chieftain, who was third, beaten three-quarters of a length in last year's edition of the race. Although he has won 12 of the 28 stakes he's competed in and earned $1,432,151, Bold Chieftain is looking for his first graded stakes victory.

"It looks like there will be a speed duel," said Bold Chieftain's trainer, Bill Morey Jr. "I think Monterey Jazz can wait a little bit, but I think the other horse has no other choice but to go."

With Bold Chieftain, Monterey Jazz, and Red Sun getting much of the betting attention, there will be some good prices on accomplished horses. Among them are Sir Al, third in the Hawthorne Derby on the turf last year; Grade 2 winner Kelly Leak, who has never finished off the board on the turf; Golden Balls, Gallant Son, and Run It, all stakes winners on turf; and Massone, who has multiple placings in graded events.