First-Crop Sires 2022: Bolt d'Oro babies blossoming quickly

August 18th, 2022 will follow prominent first-crop sires whose two-year-olds are hitting the track this season. This installment is the first on multiple graded stakes winner Bolt d'Oro.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and foaled in March 2015, Bolt d’Oro got off to a fast start as a two-year-old, like many of his progeny have during the 2022 racing season.

Out of the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, Bolt d’Oro is by 2002 Travers (G1) hero Medaglia d’Oro, the same sire as 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

The bay half-brother of stakes winner Sonic Mule was sold for $630,000 to Mick Ruis at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale and was trained by Ruis for the majority of his eight-race career.

Named after Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, Bolt d’Oro made winning look easy from the get-go. As the odds-on favorite in his debut at Del Mar in August 2017, Bolt d'Oro notched a 2 1/4-length victory to break his maiden despite breaking a step slow out the gate.

Bolt d’Oro next stepped up in class to contest the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in September and once again broke slow but rebounded to inch away into the stretch and win by three-quarters of a length.

He finally got a clean break in his next start, the FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita, where he romped to a 7 3/4-length victory as the odds-on favorite.

For his final start of his two-year-old campaign, Bolt d’Oro entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar and went off as the odds-on favorite. After stumbling at the start, he made up ground around the final turn but finished third by 4 1/4 lengths to Good Magic, another first-crop sire TwinSpires will be following this season.

Good Magic ultimately won the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old male, beating out Bolt d’Oro by just 18 votes.

Body soreness in early January 2018 kept Bolt d'Oro sidelined until March, but he bounced back strongly in his three-year-old debut with a win in the San Felipe S. (G2), albeit via disqualification of the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie, who crossed the wire a head in front but bumped Bolt d'Oro late to cause interference.

McKinzie was originally expected to meet Bolt d'Oro for a rematch in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), but Baffert opted to start eventual Triple Crown winner Justify (another first-crop sire part of TwinSpires' 2022 series).

Bolt d'Oro's next two starts would see him lose to the Scat Daddy colt when finishing second by three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby and coming home 12th to Justify in the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1).

To avoid another encounter with Justify, Ruis chose to enter Bolt d'Oro in the Metropolitan H. (G1) at Belmont against older horses in June 2018, but Bolt d'Oro faded to finish last in what would ultimately become his final race.

The three-year-old was transferred to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen's barn in July and given time off to prepare for racing in the fall. However, Bolt d'Oro returned sore after an October workout and was retired to stud at Spendthrift Farm, where he stood the 2019 season for $25,000. His 2022 fee is $20,000.

Leading progeny by Bolt d'Oro

Bolt d'Oro ranked as a top-three freshman sire of yearlings in 2021, averaging $155,097 from 97 sold. His first yearlings' return on investment was more than six times the $25,000 bred-on fee, which is second only to City of Light among freshman sires in 2021.

His first starter was his first winner back in April, when Pop d'Oro wired a trial race at Turf Paradise, finishing 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.03 over a fast main track.

As of Aug. 16, Bolt d'Oro has 10 winners from 41 starters, and three are stakes-placed.

Owen's Leap has been one of the most impressive two-year-olds by the seven-year-old stallion, who ranks second in earnings by a first-crop sire behind only Justify through mid-August. A Tom Amoss pupil, Owen's Leap scored a 1 3/4-length victory in his debut in a $120,000 maiden special weight covering five furlongs at Churchill Downs in May, then placed second to Gulfport in the six-furlong Bashford Manor S. at the same track July 4.

Purchased for $175,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, Owen's Leap was slated to re-oppose Gulfport in the Saratoga Special (G2) on Aug. 13 but was scratched after he spiked a fever, per Daily Racing Form.

On Aug. 14, another one of Bolt d'Oro's offspring, Agency, out of a Bernardini mare, followed up his maiden win with a second-place showing in the six-furlong Best Pal (G3), won by Baffert-trained Havnameltdown, at Del Mar. Pop d'Oro was also entered in the race and stumbled at the start, then drifted to finish fourth. Another Bolt d'Oro son, Arman, out of an Uncle Mo mare, finished eighth in the 10-horse field.

Bolt d'Oro's third-leading earner is the filly Bolts N Rainbows, who won by a length over Black Forest in a $120,000 maiden special weight run at 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs on June 19.