Kentucky Derby 2018 Daily: Espinoza reunites with Bolt d’Oro

April 23, 2018 10:04am
Kentucky Derby 2018 Daily: Espinoza reunites with Bolt d’Oro
Photo: Zoe Metz Photography

Welcome to Horse Racing Nation’s Kentucky Derby Dailywhich will each day leading up to the May 5 race at Churchill Downs detail all the news and notes related to contenders in one convenient space.

Recently confirmed as Bolt d’Oro’s jockey in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Victor Espinoza returned to the irons Sunday for the colt’s penultimate work at Santa Anita Park.

The son of Medaglia d’Oro — last seen second by three lengths to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby — completed seven furlongs in 1:24.20 with some encouragement coming from the Hall of Fame rider.

“Bolt felt great,” said Espinoza, who's seeking his fourth Kentucky Derby victory. “It was pretty awesome. It was exactly what I expected. We wanted
 1:24 so the clock in my head is still working. That was what Mick wanted me to do.

“We started at a decent pace all the way to the lane when I encouraged him a bit, and a little past the wire I slowed him down somewhat. I didn’t want to take the last turn too quick, so it was perfect...I know we’re in good shape and I’m getting excited as the race gets closer.”

Owner and trainer Mick Ruis said, simply, "he looked good to me" with Bolt d’Oro significantly faster than the only two other horses to go seven panels Sunday morning.

Espinoza inherited the mount after Javier Castellano, who rode Bolt d'Oro in his last two races, opted to ride Florida Derby winner Audible for Todd Pletcher. The Hall of Famer Espinoza had previously worked Bolt d'Oro.

Hofburg completes final Florida drill

Trainer Bill Mott put Hofburg through his paces Sunday morning at Payson Park, where the lightly raced Tapit colt breezed — unofficially — five furlongs in 1:01.60. It was an interesting drill, with Hofburg sitting to the outside of his workmate into the turn, then redirected inside through the stretch.

Mott told the Daily Racing Form “he’s moving really well,” and “his works have been good” since a runner-up finish in the Florida Derby. The colt ships to Churchill Downs on Monday. 

Mott shared much more about Hofburg in a recent interview, saying the horse has more foundation than most that have only run three races.

Asmussen colts on the bubble

While none of Combatant (21st), Snapper Sinclair (23rd), Reride (25th) or Dream Baby Dream (26th) are in position to start in the Kentucky Derby, the Steve Asmussen barn has taken advantage the first two days of Churchill Downs’ 15-minute training window exclusive to contenders.

Each of the four wear the neon saddle towels for Derby horses, and Reride posted the session’s lone workout Sunday. Off a third-place effort behind Mendelssohn in the UAE Derby, the Candy Ride colt breezed an easy half mile in 51.80 seconds.

Business picking up

A day after his final drill at Keeneland, champion Good Magic arrived to Churchill Downs on Sunday, with My Boy Jack also expected on the grounds before the end of the weekend. They’ll be joined Monday by the Todd Pletcher foursome of Audible, Magnum Moon, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso.

Horses not expected to breeze at Churchill Downs before the Kentucky Derby include Bolt d’Oro, Enticed, Gronkowski, Justify, Mendelssohn and Solomini.

Derby links

 In Kentucky Derby news of the day, Ryan Moore has been confirmed as Mendelssohn’s rider, turning down the opportunity to ride the 2,000 Guineas the same day on European turf. That’s a big deal internationally, and signals good things for Mendelssohn’s backers.

 “The new Norm,” as trainer Mark Casse refers to Nicholas Tomlinson, is overseeing the barn’s operation now at Churchill Downs. And that includes Kentucky Derby contender Flameaway, whose “success comes through Nick.”

 Mike Shutty, author of Horse Racing Nation’s Super Screener handicapping system, has touted longshots such as Commanding Curve and Golden Soul. Last year he mentioned Battle of Midway in a video worth seeing as you handicap.

In case you missed it…

Get the scoop with recent editions of the Derby Daily Report!

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