The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious meet in US horse racing calendar, with winners forever immortalized by their achievement at Churchill Downs. Always Dreaming took the crown in 2017 with a fine run after being considered one of the leading contenders to triumph, with trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez each notching their second victory at the race.
The field is once again packed with talent for the meet in May, with Bolt D'Oro among the competitors considered to enter the winners’ enclosure. His last race did not go to plan, but still has a strong enough pedigree to take a flier on with free bets from Timeform as the bay colt’s odds could narrow between now and the start of the meet as was the case with Always Dreaming. We’ll now break down the form of Bolt D’Oro along with the other elite horses that will be aiming to etch their place in history.
Ruta al Kentucky Derby (G1): BOLT D’ORO ESTRENARÁ JINETE EN 2018 https://t.co/bEhT00OwKF pic.twitter.com/aPcbG6mBgO
— Hipismo Mundial (@hipismo_mundial) January 29, 2018
Mike Ruis’ charge made his debut at the Maiden Special Weight race in Del Mar. Although the bay colt had a slow start to the race, jockey Corey Nakatani was able to get the horse into rhythm. He found his speed around the final bend before surging down the stretch to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Nakatani was once again in the saddle for Bolt D’Oro’s next outing in the Del Mar Futurity Stakes. The horse made a steady start to the meet, but began to make his move two furlongs from the close. He found his pace down the stretch and was able to beat out his rival Zatter by three-quarters of a length.
Bolt D’Oro’s first race away from Del Mar came in Santa Anita in the FrontRunner Stakes. He was considered the favorite for the event and rose to the occasion with a flawless performance. Ruis’ charge dominated the rest of the field to win by seven-and-a-half lengths, pulling away down the straight. The bay colt returned to Del Mar for the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup. Bolt D’Oro made a casual start to the meet, although on this occasion he could not rally in the dying stages of the meet, lacking the pace to catch winner Good Magic. The bay colt has the speed to threaten at the Derby, but cannot leave himself too much to do in the closing stages.
As a result of his performance in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup, the chestnut colt has seen his odds narrow for the event. Trainer Chad Brown made his breakthrough in the Triple Crown last season as his charge Cloud Computing triumphed at Preakness Stakes. Good Magic has the talent to make an impact at the Derby, placing in the top three in all three of the races in his career. With Javier Castellano in the saddle, he made his debut at Saratoga in the Maiden Special Weight. He was considered the favourite for the meet, but lacked the pace down the final furlong to overhaul Hazit.
Good Magic produced a stronger effort last October in the Champagne Stakes. He matched the pace of race leader Firenze Fire, although once again he failed to produce the extra speed down the stretch to beat out his rival. The chestnut colt lost out by half-a-length as his compatriot just had enough to edge him out. However, in November he finally notched his first win by beating out Bolt D’Oro at Del Mar with Jose Ortiz in the saddle. The jockey timed the surge to perfection and the horse was able to canter to victory by four-and-a-half lengths ahead of Solomini.
.@BreedersCup Juvenile runner-up Solomini and buzz horse McKinzie will both go in next weekend's G1 Los Alamitos Futurity: https://t.co/95lBrErrka pic.twitter.com/Fyrk19FM1T
— Horse Racing Nation (@HR_Nation) December 2, 2017
The three-year-old will be the horse put forward by Pletcher as he attempts to win his second Kentucky Derby on the bounce. Audible made his debut at Belmont Park last September, and although he was considered the favorite for the Maiden Special Weight, he was slightly off the pace placing down in third behind winner We Should Talk and Smokin Platinum. Pletcher sent his charge to Aqueduct for his first one-mile outing with Velazquez in the saddle once again. However, on this occasion, he was able to rise to the occasion to claim the victory with a solid performance.
Audible was once again the favorite as he returned to Aqueduct for his next outing in December. Castellano took the reins in a four-horse field and allowed the horse to ease to his second victory, timing the run down the stretch to claim the win. The Holy Bull Stakes offered a step up in competition at the start of February at Gulfstream Park. Pletcher’s charge was considered an outsider as Enticed was backed for the win over the eight-furlong meet. However, the bay colt produced the strongest performance of his career as Castellano guided him to a five-and-a-half length victory over a talented field. That experience could stand him in good stead at the Churchill Downs.
Bob Baffert has one of the best records in the Kentucky Derby, training four winners. Should Solomini triumph at the event – it would take Baffert just one triumph behind Ben Jones, who has the most victories with six. Baffert last won the race with American Pharoah in 2015 and will be eyeing another with Solomini. The two-year-old began his career with a victory at the Maiden Special Weight. Flavien Pret took the reins and guided the horse to an assured performance as he edged his way to the win by one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Bahamian at Del Mar.
The American horse was off the pace at Santa Anita at the FrontRunner Stakes as he and the rest of the field were soundly beaten by Bolt D’Oro. He placed in second, although the chestnut colt was not in contention to catch his rival down the stretch. Solomini put forward another solid outing in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup. However, he again lacked the speed at the crucial moment of the meet to match Good Magic, finishing in second for the second race on the bounce. The two-year-old competed in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity Stakes in December, and although he finished first with a fine performance, Baffert’s charge was disqualified after making contact with Instilled Regard. Solomini has talent, but will need a flawless outing to match the pace of his rivals at the top.