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'Good-minded' Bolt d'Oro pairs speed, stamina in Met Mile 2018

Ruis Racing's Bolt d'Oro will make his first appearance on the East Coast when he runs in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9, his first race since running 12th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 5.

The Derby misfire was the only time in seven career starts the Medaglia d'Oro colt finished off the board, having started his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade 2 San Felipe on March 10 at Santa Anita and running second to Triple Crown-threat Justify in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 7 in California.

"We think this race is good because he'll make a really good stallion and people on the East Coast really like to see if they have speed and stamina, so I thought it was a good spot for him," trainer Mick Ruis said by phone Wednesday morning.

Breaking from post 11 in the Derby, Bolt d'Oro was forced into a wide trip and stayed close until the far turn but wilted in the stretch on the sloppy and sealed Churchill Downs track. Ruis said the rest, along with the cutback from running 1 ¼ miles, could be beneficial for the Kentucky-bred.

"You'd think it'd help. We wanted to give him a little bit of time after the Derby," Ruis said. "He came back good. He just didn't like the slop and he was in the real heavy part of the track, going six-wide. We'll find out when he runs on it how he likes the track [at Belmont]."

The Derby marked the first time Bolt d'Oro raced out of California, having won his first two races, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and the Grade 1 FrontRunner, before capping his 2-year-old campaign by running third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Bolt d'Oro is currently training at Keeneland, where Ruis said he is scheduled to breeze on Monday and again on Sunday, June 3. Ruis said he is scheduled to ship to New York on the same plane as Justify on June 6. 

"We're going to fly him in on the sixth on the same flight as Justify," Ruis said. "He ships fine. He's such a good-minded horse."

Ruis said Union Strike is expected to run in the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental at seven furlongs on the turf on Thursday, June 7, Opening Day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. The 4-year-old Union Rags filly will be making her first appearance since finishing seventh in the Grade 2 La Canada on January 13.

Union Strike will be making her first start on Belmont's Big Sandy since running fifth in last year's Grade 1 Acorn. After suffering an injury in that race and recovering from a quarter crack, Union Strike made her first start in seven monthsin the one-mile La Canada on the dirt at Santa Anita. 

"She's doing great, I've been wanting to get her on the turf for a long time," Ruis said. "I think the issues are behind her now and we're ready to get her on the turf."

 

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