Bolt d'Oro | Horse Profile

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Bolt d'Oro

Bolt d'Oro winning the FrontRunner Stakes (Benoit Photography)

Bolt d'Oro Career Statistics  

Starts: 6
Wins: 4
Places: 1
Shows: 1
Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $980,000
Last Update: April 2018

Owner: Ruis Racing
Trainer: Mick Ruiz
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Pedigree: Medaglia d’ Oro – Globe Trot, by A.P. Indy
Recent Finish: 2nd, Santa Anita Derby, G1 (4/7/18)
Notable Wins: San Felipe (G2), FrontRunner Stakes (G1), Del Mar Futurity
Approx. Odds to Win Kentucky Derby: 10-1

Kentucky Derby Thoughts by John Mucciolo

will feature Bolt d’Oro. California-based colt was a star as a juvenile and looks to be heading to the Bluegrass State primed for a big run on Saturday.

Son of Medaglia d’Oro ripped off a trio of superb wins to start his career, including a pair of Grade-1 scores, and he finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his two-year-old finale for conditioner Mick Ruis.

Bolt d’Oro came back in March this campaign and was elevated to first following an exciting stretch-run with McKinzie. In the Santa Anita Derby next time out, the handsome sophomore was chasing Kentucky Derby favorite Justify for the duration, falling three lengths shy under the wire. This was an excellent prep race.

For a horse who was the best two-year-old in 2017 (I thought that the colt should have easily won the Eclipse Award for his juvenile season) and popped a monstrous 110 BRIS Speed rating in his final tune-up for the Kentucky Derby, Bolt d’Oro surely seems to be flying under the radar. While that speaks volumes of the strength of the Derby field it is a bit still puzzling to me.

Bold d’Oro fetched a bid of $630,000 at 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale. He is a half-brother to stakes winner and three-time graded performer Sonic Mule and receives ample stamina through both his sire and broodmare sire, A.P. Indy. Bold d’Oro has registered BRIS Late Pace figures of 100-104-102-114 in his trio of two-turn events, and 10 furlongs should be within his scope.

I can’t see many faults in this serious Kentucky Derby contender. Bold d’Oro has a nice foundation with six lifetime starts, all in the Golden State. While I would have liked to have seen him ship out of California for one of his stakes runs in 2018, it was not essential to do so.

The colt has some early foot to establish position early on, and he is always finishing in his races. Picking up Victor Espinoza, who is a three-time winning Kentucky Derby pilot, is an obvious coup.

I expect Espinoza to have Bolt d’Oro tracking somewhere near midpack in the early going of the Kentucky Derby. He has endured some gate problems in the past but has improved in that area this season.

Bold d’Oro will be challenging for the lead in early stretch and will have every chance to give Espinoza Derby trophy number four.


Bolt d’ Oro has been on the top Kentucky Derby contender list longer than any other horse. He won his maiden at Del Mar, and then a pair of Grade 1 races before October, the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes. He overcame adversity in the Futurity and closed strong to win, and then crushed the field by nearly 8 lengths and recorded a superb 105 BRIS Speed Rating in the Frontrunner.

BRIS speed measures how fast a horse ran a particular race and is comparable across distance, surface, and location. Class measures competition within each race.  

In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, Bolt d’ Oro closed as the heavy 3-5 odds favorite. But he bobbled at the start and was hung out seven wide into the first turn breaking from the No. 11 post. He remained widest and was unable to recover or bridge the gap in the stretch, finishing third with a BRIS rating of 99.

Following four months off, Bolt d’ Oro finished 2nd in the San Felipe but was declared the winner following an inquiry and disqualification of McKinzie. He recorded another solid 98 BRIS rating, and then finished 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby while posting a career-best 110 BRIS rating, but was still 3 lengths behind the super talented Justify.

Key Speed Figures and Stats for Bold d’ Oro

  • Final 3/8 mile time in the Santa Anita Derby :37.40 seconds
  • Best BRIS Speed and Class Rating of 110 in Santa Anita Derby
  • Two Grade 1 wins, and 4-for-4 in the money in Grade 1 races

Bolt d’ Oro has lots of experience heading into the Derby, and at age 2 he displayed tremendous raw talent and ability. He has the frame, athletic ability and pedigree to get the classic distance. His two wins and one runner-up finish at Santa Anita were over a track that favored speed in each race. While many will discount him after losing by daylight to Justify, note his final 3/8 mile time nearly matched Justify. Bolt d’ Oro will actually be an overlay in the Kentucky Derby, but the question will be can he sustain his speed after pressing the pace and a likely very fast one in the Derby? 

Bolt d’ Oro’s sire Medaglia d’Oro led all stallions in North America with seven different Grade 1 winners in 2017, including a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners, with five of those becoming Eclipse Award finalists. All but one succeeded at route distances. The female family side of Bolt d’ Oro is slanted towards speed, but he should carry through the classic distance fine.

Watch how Bolt ‘d Oro is training and handles the track at Churchill Downs in his first visit. He’s a battle-tested Derby runner with only an inexperienced Derby trainer in Mick Ruiz, who brings his first horse to the Kentucky Derby. But Bolt d’ Oro will have an experienced 3-time Derby-winning jockey riding him for the first time as Victor Espinoza will try to lead the stalking Bolt d’ Oro past the leaders in what sets up to be a fast front end with many challengers pushing the pace.    

Learn more about Bolt d'Oro

BULL: Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Bolt d'Oro

REILLY: Tales from the Crib - Bolt d'Oro

BRISNET: Bolt d'Oro

Kentucky Derby Profile: Bolt d'Oro

Watch Bolt d'Oro's workout videos