January 23, 2018

Bolt d’Oro to face 11 challengers as Juvenile favorite

Bolt d'Oro's work schedule was pushed back due to a likely muscle pull (Benoit Photos)

Unbeaten from three starts, Bolt d’Oro will leave the starting gate as the overwhelming favorite in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar. His 9-5 morning line price appears too low following a smashing 7 ¾-length victory in the September 30 FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita that netted a 105 BRIS Speed rating, nine points better than any other last-out number.

By Medaglia d’Oro, the $630,000 yearling purchase is owned and trained by Mick Ruis. Bolt d’Oro showed an affinity for Del Mar this summer, opening his career with a convincing maiden tally and overcoming a tardy start to win the Del Mar Futurity (G1) going away by about a length, and the well-built colt will keep Corey Nakatani in the saddle.

As part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile will award points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the top four finishers.

Breeders’ Futurity (G1) hero Free Drop Billy rates as the early 5-1 second choice. A neck second in the Hopeful (G1) two back, the Dale Romans trainee displayed a nice turn of foot rolling to a four-length decision at Keeneland last time. Robby Albarado guides the son of Union Rags.

Champagne (G1) winner Firenze Fire and FrontRunner runner-up Solomini are the 6-1 co-third choices in the 12-horse field.

Firenze Fire raced up close to the pace winning the Sanford (G3) and finishing fourth in the Hopeful (G1), but the Jason Servis-trained colt displayed a new dimension rallying to capture the Champagne from well off the pace. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides. Solomini promises to show speed from post 2 for three-time Juvenile winner Bob Baffert. By Curlin, the chestnut colt didn’t experience the cleanest trip posting a clear second last time and is eligible to keep moving forward in his third outing with Flavien Prat.

Group 1 scorer U S Navy Flag brings a three-race win streak into his dirt debut for Coolmore/Aidan O’Brien. The War Front colt will have the services of stable go-to rider Ryan Moore and is listed at 8-1. Good Magic is also 8-1 as he pursues his first career win. A respectable second when making his bow in a Travers Day maiden, the $1 million son of Curlin exits a Champagne second. Jose Ortiz has the call for Chad Brown.

Iroquois (G3) runner-up Hollywood Star comes next on the morning line at 15-1. The Romans trainee must overcome the far outside post with new jock Joel Rosario. Rounding out the field are Iroquois winner The Tabulator; Hopeful third-placer Givemeaminit; and maiden winners Bahamian, Hazit and Golden Dragon.

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