May 25, 2024

Bolt d’Oro overpowers Zatter in final strides of Del Mar Futurity

Bolt d'Oro (left) edged Zatter in the latter stages of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) on September 4 © BENOIT PHOTO

Ruis Racing’s Bolt d’Oro was relentless in deep stretch of Monday’s $301,380 Del Mar Futurity (G1), wearing down Zatter as he gamely tried to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a 14th win in the meet’s crowning race for two-year-olds. Now perfect from two starts, the Mick Ruis trainee stamped himself as a prime contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) back at Del Mar November 4.

Bolt d’Oro, a $630,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, turned heads by overcoming a slow start in his August 5 debut here. The Medaglia d’Oro colt was again slow into stride on Labor Day, and found himself shuffled back between more alert foes. Whereas in his maiden he recovered rapidly to vie for the lead, Bolt d’Oro remained near the back of the pack for a patient Corey Nakatani.

That was just as well, since the pace was frenetic. Soul Streit, Baffert’s other entrant, grabbed control from 81-1 longshot Master Ruler through an opening quarter in :21.88. He attempted to get clear, only to have hitherto unbeaten 5-2 favorite Run Away breathing down his neck at the half in :44.54. But when Run Away took over from the weakening Soul Streit, he was immediately beset by Zatter, traveling better on the outside swinging for home and soon striking the front.

By that point, Bolt d’Oro was lengthening stride and following Zatter’s forward move wider out. For much of the stretch, a stubborn Zatter hinted that he would not relinquish his advantage. Still a length up at the six-furlong split in 1:09.89, the Baffert pupil kept finding – until the final sixteenth. Bolt d’Oro was simply too strong late and prevailed by three-quarters of a length, negotiating seven furlongs in 1:22.91. The 7-2 third choice returned $9.80 to win.

The 3-1 Zatter was 4 3/4 lengths clear of Run Away, who was trying to become the third straight Best Pal (G2) winner to double up in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), after Klimt (2016) and Nyquist (2015). Run Away barely salvaged third by a nose from fast-finishing Dia de Pago. Soul Streit wound up fifth. Trailed by Tatters to Riches, Gracida, Master Ruler, and the eased Fleetwood.

Bred by WinStar Farm in Kentucky, Bolt d’Oro is a half-brother to multiple stakes scorer and Grade 2-placed Sonic Mule. They were produced by the winning A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, herself a half-sister to stakes victor Passport and to the dam of Grade 2-placed stakes hero Recruiting Ready. Bolt d’Oro’s second dam, multiple Grade 3 queen Trip, hails from the family of Grade 1-winning sprinter Zensational and multiple Grade 2 winner Departing, a near $2 million-earner.

Bolt d’Oro will likely stretch out to two turns for the September 30 FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita, a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Quotes from Del Mar

Winning owner-trainer Mick Ruis: “He got wiped out in the beginning, again. But this horse has so much talent. He can go to the front, he can come from the back. We were, what, six wide around the turn to take the lead.

On fall plans: “I had this horse maybe 70 percent cranked. I’ll have him a little bit tighter for the Front Runner, so we’re real excited about that. Then we’ll see about the big race here (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile). What does the sign say up front — Fifty Nine Days away?”

Jockey Corey Nakatani on Bolt d’Oro: “I was pretty confident going into the race. I thought he was the horse to beat; that they’d have to pick their feet up to beat him. But he’s a very talented colt; he’s very classy. I knew I’d have to have some patience today; to just wait some. And it worked out. In the lane he was big. I have to thank Mick (trainer Mick Ruis). He gave me this shot and I’m glad it worked out.”

Jockey Rafael Bejarano on runner-up Zatter: “I had a good position; right where I wanted to be. When we went for home, I asked him and he responded. He never stopped running. The winner was just too much today.”

Meet-leading rider Flavien Prat on beaten favorite Run Away in third: “I’m drawn inside, so I’ve got to go. No choice. I got going too fast, but what are you going to do. No real excuses for me. But I wish we would have been drawn outside. You might have seen a different result.”

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith on fifth-placer Soul Streit: “No excuses today. He just got outrun.”