Mick Ruis’ Bolt d’Oro has left little doubt that he’s the most impressive two-year-old to race this year, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In fact, for me, he’s a juicy bet-against.
Putting aside the controversy surrounding his lofty 100 Beyer Speed Figure for a moment, everything set up perfectly for the latest Grade 1-winning son of Megdalia d’Oro when he captured the FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita Racetrack. A 70-1 shot sprung to the lead in front of Zatter, one of Bob Baffert’s impressive trainees who went off as the 3-1 second choice. Bolt d’Oro was able to patiently press a leader without fear of the race getting away from him while Zatter sat a frustrating pocket trip throughout before he faded.
Bolt d’Oro pulled away impressively down the stretch, no doubt, but just by trip handicapping alone, Bolt d’Oro should be a bet-against in his next start… which brings us to that speed figure.
Bolt d’Oro won the 1 1/16-mile FrontRunner Stakes in 1:43:54. Earlier on the card, Paradise Woods won the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes with a final time of 1:44:34. Yet, Paradise Woods was awarded a 105 Beyer number while Bolt d’Oro was given 100.
Andy Beyer explained in the Daily Racing From that Bolt d’Oro’s number was reduced because the original number seemed implausible given his prior figures.
In my mind, both figures are implausible.
Paradise Woods won the Zenyatta even easier than Bolt d’Oro won the FrontRunner, being allowed to saunter on a loose lead against only three other foes, none of which seemed at all interested in racing her that day. While both she and Bolt d’Oro undoubtedly ran fast, neither was asked to race for even a second, which, in my mind, casts doubt on the legitimacy of the speed figures.
Nonetheless, Bolt d’Oro will have a “100” in bold type next to his name in the past performances come Breeders’ Cup.
Look, there’s no doubt that Bolt d’Oro is a classy two-year-old, and he very well might go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and even the Kentucky Derby. But given the questionable speed figure and the dream trip he got in the FrontRunner, his odds are sure to be way too low for me to justify betting on him.
I’ll look to Baffert’s other charge in the FrontRunner, Solomini, or even Larry Rivelli’s The Tabulator before I wager a penny on Bolt d’Oro.
Matt Hess, aka “Meathouse,” is an attorney in the Chicagoland area who spends an unhealthy amount of his free time handicapping sports and horse racing in particular. Originally from the South side of Chicago, he is a die-hard White Sox fan whose second-favorite baseball team is whoever is playing the Cubs on a given day.
Matt is a proud alum of the University of Illinois who passionately follows both the Bears and Blackhawks and, in addition to horse racing, specializes in handicapping the NFL and MLB. You can reach him at MeathouseBets@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @MeathouseBets.