One of the biggest questions when it comes to winning the Kentucky Derby is the mile and a quarter. These young three year olds have never been that distance before…or have they? Hmmmm…let’s explore that with one of the top contenders for Derby 144.

Bolt d’Oro has been a force in the two-year old racing world in 2017. Two wins to start his career were followed by a smashing victory in the grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita. Heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 4, the Mick Ruis trained colt was considered one of the bigger slam dunks on the card. Two wins over the Del Mar dirt already meant this son of Medaglia d’Oro was one to put the mortgage payment on. Then the mile and a sixteenth race happened and a very wide trip saw the Bolt finish a closing third to winner Good Magic. As a San Diego native, Ruis obviously wanted his prized colt to shine on his biggest stage to date, but in the end , perhaps more good came out of the race than first perceived.

“I don’t think we have to worry if he can go a mile and a quarter because he already did,” jokes his conditioner who also owns the colt. “His trip was very wide and he had to run a lot further than the rest, but we are not second guessing anything. He came out of it good and this was just another step in his development. Del Mar has a short stretch and it was just unfortunate. He is still growing and is just a big baby right now.”

Ruis has taken his time with this great-grandson of Seattle Slew and will begin to work him beginning in late December. His road to the Kentucky Derby will run through California as races at Santa Anita are targeted . The San Vicente (February 10), San Felipe (March 10), and Santa Anita Derby (April 7) are currently on the slate.

“We want to keep it simple and just stay home,” says Ruis. “Santa Anita is his home track and the competition is very good there. We think that will be the best way to get to Churchill Downs. Worrying about what other people think or say or getting caught up in that stuff is the last thing we want to do. We have a great team and we all just need to stay focused on what’s in front of us.”

Bolt d’Oro has displayed the versatility often needed to win on the first Saturday in May. Coming from off the pace and running on the lead, Bolt has shown he is certainly not a one trick pony. And yes, his run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile may have told all he can get the distance. Closing out the first Kentucky Derby future wager pool as the favorite (7 to 1) among the 23 runners named, Ruis is not the only one that thinks a lot about this Kentucky bred that has earned $540,000 on the track thus far.

“Obviously we think he is a special horse and he is the focal point of our barn right now,” says Ruis. “He seems to be a very sound horse that just keeps getting better. This is a very exciting time for us, but we just have to take things one day at a time.”