The Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” season is winding down with only 14 Challenge series races left on the schedule. At this point, almost all of the series winners will move on to the Breeders’ Cup with many of them entering their respective races as one of the favorites.
In this week’s Getting to Know feature, we focus on Bolt d’Oro, winner of the Grade 1, $301,035 FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita Park and a guaranteed spot in the Nov, 4 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
I missed Bolt d’Oro’s career debut on Aug. 5, but a friend in the office alerted me two days later and I watched the replay. I’ve been on the Bolt d’Oro bandwagon since then.
The bay colt won impressively that day at Del Mar, pressing a strong pace and still finishing fast in a 2 ¼-length win at 6 ½ furlongs. Second by a head after an opening quarter-mile in :22.53, Bolt d’Oro completed the final sixteenth of a mile in 6.41 seconds. Intrigued, I dug a little deeper and found he also boasted a pedigree that indicated he probably would be much better suited to longer races.
A $630,000 purchase at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, Bolt d’Oro made his second start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4. While the race was only slightly longer than his debut, the seven-eighths of a mile Del Mar Futurity provided the promising colt with a true test of class and also a second race on the main track of what will be the Breeders’ Cup World Championships host venue in November.
Sent off at 3.90-1 odds, Bolt d’Oro got off to a sluggish start and dropped back to eighth early, 4 ½ lengths off the pace through an opening half-mile in :21.88. Despite the fact that pacesetter Soul Streit laid down a scorching half-mile in :44.54, Bolt d’Oro rallied to within two lengths with a visually impressive middle move and still has enough fuel in the tank to finish his final eighth of a mile in about 12 4/5 seconds for a three-quarter-length win.
I love to see a lightly raced 2-year-old overcome adversity like Bolt d’Oro did in the Del Mar Futurity, and the fact that he used push-button acceleration to move into striking range made it even more impressive.
What he accomplished in his first two starts (94, 101 Equibase Speed Figures, respectively) was really just a hint of the potential Bolt d’Oro would display when stretched out around two turns for the first time in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 30.
Sent off as the 9-10 favorite, Bolt d’Oro got away to a much better start in the FrontRunner and relaxed very comfortably in second behind pacesetter Take the One O One through an easy half-mile in :47.23. He blew past Take the One O One on the final turn and powered well clear of his eight opponents en route to a 7 ¾-length romp.
Bolt d’Oro covered the final sixteenth of a mile in 6.58 seconds and completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:43.54, which was nearly three seconds faster that than 2-year-old filly Moonshine Memories took to win the Chandelier Stakes and four-fifths of a second faster than the Zenyatta Stakes for females 3 years old and older. Bolt d’Oro earned a 119 Equibase Speed Figure, which is 13 points higher than the next best figure earned by any 2-year-old in North America in a stakes race in 2017.
With two wins on the track that will host the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a victory at the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile distance, and very likely – there are still two major races left for 2-year-old males – the fastest speed figures, Bolt d’Oro figures to be one of the most formidable favorites at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
After watching Bolt d’Oro’s career debut, I was impressed enough to do some research into his pedigree and became even more encouraged about his potential. On paper, he looks like a racehorse who should be able to run all day.
Bolt d’Oro is one of five Grade 1 winners this year for his sire, Medaglia d’Oro, along with champion Songbird, Elate, New Money Honey, and Dickinson. Medaglia d’Oro won eight of 17 career starts, including the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Travers Stakes in 2002 among three Grade 1 victories. He also finished second in the 2004 Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup.
Medaglia d’Oro ranked second on the general sire list in 2015 and was the leading second-crop sire of 2009. He is the sire of 111 stakes winners, 55 group or graded stakes winners, and four champions through Oct. 2, including 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
Medaglia d’Oro is a sire whose elite runners often share a mix of speed, class, and stamina, and he’s also quite versatile with Grade 1 winners on dirt, grass and synthetic surfaces.
Bolt d’Oro’s dam (mother), Globe Trot, won three of 17 career starts. By 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, winner of that year’s Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, Globe Trot’s three wins all came at one mile on the main track. Each of Bolt d’Oro’s next three dams (maternal grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother) were stakes winners and stakes producers.
His grandam, Trip, won three graded stakes at distances from seven-eighths of a mile to 1 1/16 miles. His third dam, Tour, by Forty Niner, produced three stakes winners and is the grandam of Grade 1 winner Zensational and four-time graded stakes winner Departing.
Combine a powerful pedigree with the outstanding ability Bolt d’Oro has already shown on the racetrack and you have arguably most promising 2-year-old in North America this year.