Multiple Grade 1 winner BOLT D’ORO took a spin around Keeneland’s fast main track on Sunday under jockey Florent Geroux, breezing a half-mile in :48.40 in readiness for the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park on the June 9 Belmont Stakes (G1) program.
“We just wanted to go a nice, easy half. We had our serious work last week and I thought it was a perfect work for him,” owner/trainer Mick Ruis said. “He went as easy as you can go and he galloped out seven-eighths, and Florent said it was like nothing for him. The horse is fit and ready to go, so we’re excited.”
On May 28, Bolt d’Oro went five-eighths at Keeneland in a swift :57 in his first work since finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 5. The Medaglia d’Oro colt was ridden by Victor Espinoza for the first time in the Run for the Roses, but will have Geroux aboard for the Met Mile.
“Anybody can ride Bolt. The guy is push-button,” Ruis said. “He’s amazing and his mind is amazing. If you ask him to go, he goes. If you ask him to stop, he stops. He’s just a really, really easy horse to ride.”
Corey Nakatani piloted Bolt d’Oro throughout his juvenile campaign while Javier Castellano was aboard for the Kentucky-bred’s first two races as a sophomore. Espinoza took over for the Derby.
The sophomore will face older rivals for the first time in the Met Mile and will only have to carry 114 pounds for the contest.
“I would ride Corey, but he couldn’t make the 114 (pounds). He could maybe get down to 119, so I talked to him and he understood. That’s the weight they give three-year-olds,” Ruis explained. “I was also looking for someone that could work him here. (Geroux) was in Bob Baffert’s barn working Restoring Hope and Bob mentioned to me that he thought he’d be a good choice to ride the horse.”