February 20, 2024

Bolt d’Oro to face 11 challengers as Juvenile favorite

Bolt d'Oro shows back-to-back bullet workouts for his seasonal reappearance in Saturday's San Felipe (G2) (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.