ALBANY, Calif. -- Bold Chieftain unleashed a strong late kick to catch pacesetting Monterey Jazz at the wire, giving the 7-year-old millionaire and Russell Baze, the world's winningest rider, a pair of firsts in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Francisco Mile on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
The victory, the 17th in Bold Chieftain's career and his 13th stakes win, was his first in a graded stakes and marked the first victory in the San Francisco Mile for Baze, who had six runner-up finishes in the race.
Bold Chieftain ($8.80) broke alertly, but Monterey Jazz grabbed the lead from Red Sun, who was making his stakes debut.
Monterey Jazz set an honest pace setting fractions of 24.21 seconds, 47.75, and 1:11.06 as he held the speedy Red Sun at bay.
Baze was content to sit fourth with Bold Chieftain but within easy striking distance of the leader. Bold Chieftain moved up to third behind Monterey Jazz and Red Sun in the lane and dug in as Monterey Jazz, making only his second start in six months, began to tire a bit.
Bold Chieftain dug in, caught Monterey Jazz nearing the wire and was one-half length in front at the end of the one-mile turf race. The winning time was 1:35.21.
Red Sun held on for third, one length behind Monterey Jazz.
"This is a step we really wanted to get," said trainer Bill Morey Jr., who is also a co-breeder and co-owner of Bold Chieftain.
Morey said the graded victory will make Bold Chieftain much more attractive as a sire. He said there has been interest from South African concerns about purchasing Bold Chieftain as a stallion.
Bold Chieftain earned $90,000 with the victory, lifting his career earnings to $1,522,151 for Morey, Kenneth Robinson, Dwaine Hall and the late Ernest Langbein.