ARCADIA, Calif. -- As good as Bolt d'Oro was at Del Mar, he was even better on Saturday at Santa Anita in his first start around two turns, as he clobbered his rivals in the Grade 1, $301,380 FrontRunner Stakes to remain unbeaten after three starts and head to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 at Del Mar as the unquestioned one to beat.
On a day when three Grade 1 stakes were run at 1 1/16 miles, including one for older runners, Bolt d'Oro was clearly the fastest. His time of 1:43.54 was considerably superior to the 1:46.32 of the 2-year-old filly Moonshine Memories 34 minutes earlier in the Chandelier, and was a full .80 faster than what Paradise Woods recorded in the Zenyatta. This was a serious performance.
Bolt d'Oro ($3.80), the favorite, broke better than he had in his first two starts and was right behind pacesetter Take the One O One through the first six furlongs. He surged to the front heading into the lane, quickly opened a three-length lead in upper stretch, then poured it on down the stretch without any need to be asked for his best by jockey Corey Nakatani. He finished 7 3/4 lengths in front of Solomini, who was 2 1/2 lengths best of Take the One O One.
Ayacara was fourth and was followed, in order, by Zatter, Encumbered, City Plan, Continental Divide, and Texas Wedge.
"Wow, pretty cool," said Mick Ruis, who trains and owns Bolt d'Oro. "We thought he'd get two turns. Now we know he can."
Bolt d'Oro, a colt by Medaglia d'Oro, won his debut at Del Mar on Aug. 5 going 6 1/2 furlongs, then prevailed in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4 when going seven furlongs. He broke poorly in his first start, then had a tough time in the early going in the Futurity when bothered by rivals leaving the gate.
This time, though, he got away cleanly, took up a forward position, and never looked in danger at any point. He was a man against boys.
"He can break. I think we're on the right track," said Ruis, who has used blinkers on Bolt d'Oro for all his races.
The FrontRunner victory offered a fees-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. There was a large gathering in the winner's circle, and Ruis told Jill Byrne of the Breeders' Cup that he'd probably have an even bigger group with him in five weeks.
"I think we just got a lot more friends," he said.
Bolt d'Oro was purchased as a yearling for $630,000. He earned $180,000 on Saturday to bring his career earnings to $396,000, but Ruis also has been enriched by a stallion deal struck with Spendthrift Farm prior to this race that has Bolt d'Oro ticketed to Spendthrift when he is done.
Ruis is hopeful that's a long ways off. His goal is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in which a victory would bring an Eclipse Award, and he said Bolt d'Oro would then get "a chance to grow up" before embarking on a 3-year-old campaign focused, early on, on the Kentucky Derby.