Bolt d’Oro cruised through 2017 as the two-year-old to watch, but a third place finish behind Good Magic in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as the betting favorite has thrown a bit of a wrench in his momentum. Owner and trainer Mick Ruis, who is making a staunch comeback to the sport after making money in construction, reflected on the process as his coveted colt makes preparation for his season debut at the upcoming 2018 San Felipe Stakes. The race is scheduled for March 10th out of Santa Anita.
Despite some concerns about Bolt d’Oro’s abilities against his three-year-old rivals, he remains one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby. But Ruis knows that the proof has to be done in competition. “I guess he’s got to show it on the track,” said Ruis. “We still think we have the best horse out there. We’ve got to let him show what he’s got. We can say he’s the best, the other guys can say they’re the best, but I guess we’ve got to show it.”
“I felt, if I were here at the barn working, it would have been a lot better than being all dressed up in a tuxedo for the second time in my life to hear that,” Ruis reflected on the 2018 San Felipe hopeful. “Five minutes after they announced the winner, my competitiveness said, ‘I just want to know where Good Magic is coming back, because that’s the race I want to ship into.’ But I thought I’d be a little bit smarter than that.”
Going head to head with the only horse that’s handed Bolt d’Oro defeat seems like a poignant way to regain confidence, but Ruis knows that there are simply better ways to approach business. “We grew up wrestling in the family, so we’re super competitive,” Ruis continued. “The only way we know how to settle things is on the mat—mano a mano—but I’ve got to be more patient in this game. He’s a horse, not a gladiator.”
A smart and calculated approach to what Bolt d’Oro is capable of handling is the target for Ruis. That’s the best way to maximize his potential, which this horse seems to have so much of. We’ll see when he battles a class that is becoming deeper as weekends go by. The 2018 San Felipe will be a major starting point for the Triple Crown betting crowd, and until then the uncertainty around Bolt d’Oro will continue to captivate our collective attention.