At Santa Anita on Monday, elite Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Bolt d’Oro turned in his stiffest work yet ahead of his comeback in the March 10 San Felipe (G2). New rider Javier Castellano made the trek from Florida to steer the Mick Ruis colt through a bullet six furlongs from the gate in company, followed by a double gallop-out.
As has become something of a pattern for Bolt d’Oro, the blueblood was off a beat slow but soon regrouped to chase workmate Eskimo Roses, then dusted him down the lane. Bolt d’Oro completed his six-furlong move in 1:12.00, best of eight on the day. The maiden Eskimo Roses, approximately 10 lengths behind, took 1:14.00 beneath Juan Ochoa.
Castellano asked Bolt d’Oro to keep going, and the multiple Grade 1 winner galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.00 and polished off the mile in 1:39.80.
— Larry Zap (@larryzapeye) February 26, 2018
Private clocker Andy Harrington was among the observers to give positive reviews.
“I thought it was a really good work,” Harrington said. “I had him in :47, 1:11 and four and out seven eighths in 1:25 and two.
“The jock asked him and he got a lot out of him…He went by that other horse in about four strides. Every drill, he gets a little better. This work was encouraging.”
Bolt d’Oro’s team was obviously pleased as well.
“He breezed good, I really like the way he finished,” Castellano said. “He got some dirt in his face and it didn’t bother him. I asked him little by little to pick it up around the turn and he did it very easy. I rode him the way they asked me and it was a good, solid work.”
“He went a little quick early,” owner/trainer Ruis said, “but he finished really good. I think we’re where we need to be.
“He’s a very smart horse and he can get very relaxed behind the gate. I’m really glad we worked out of the gate today, because he’ll be much sharper next time.”
Bolt d’Oro was penciled in to return in the February 10 San Vicente (G2), until a minor setback – believed the result of getting cast in his stall – affected his timetable. He has not raced since suffering his first loss in the November 4 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), where a terribly wide trip from post 11 contributed to his third behind divisional champion Good Magic. Jockey Corey Nakatani, who had ridden him in his maiden, Del Mar Futurity (G1), and FrontRunner (G1) victories, subsequently lost the mount.
Castellano has signed on for the San Felipe. But the in-demand rider has other possible Derby candidates too, leaving options open as the trail unfolds. Ruis also has Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza on speed-dial; the three-time Derby winner worked Bolt d’Oro last Tuesday.
Held over the same track and 1 1/16-mile trip as Bolt d’Oro’s biggest win in the FrontRunner, the San Felipe offers 50 Derby points to the winner. He’s set to face at least one, possibly two, from the Bob Baffert barn, with McKinzie and Solomini the high-profile names currently in the mix. Plans call for one of them to go to the San Felipe and the other to set off for the March 17 Rebel (G2).