LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - During most of winter and then into the early spring, I ranked Bolt d'Oro at the top of my contenders for the Run For The Roses.
I wavered some after Magnum Moon romped in the Arkansas Derby. The Todd Pletcher colt had by then strung together a pair of solid wins, the first of which was his Rebel victory.
So a couple weeks ago, I ranked Moon over Bolt. Magnum Moon seemed to be more of a "buzz" horse and it wouldn't surprise me if he came away with the roses.
But this past week I've come back to Bolt d'Oro and he is my pick to take the Derby. He really looked professional a few days ago when he worked at Santa Anita. I love the fact that he'll be ridden by three-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza. One of the best things about Espinoza is that he will ride this guy with confidence, ride him like he's on the best horse. Espinoza rode that way during the Chrome and Pharoah Triple Crown races. He'll put Bolt d'Oro in a great position. The rest is up to Bolt, whose past performances show a horse that runs hard and fast every time the gate opens.
Bolt d'Oro owns the experience, back class and pedigree to capture the Derby. His speed figures make him one of the top contenders. Yes, he was soundly beaten by Justify in the Santa Anita Derby, but Justify enjoyed a comfortable pace and should face more pressure this Saturday. This could help Bolt turn the tables on Justify. And I certainly will take the better odds that Bolt offers versus Justify. And hey, don't forget Bolt's win over the once highly- regarded
McKinzie (Justify's stablemate) in the San Felipe before McKinzie's injury. That San Felipe was a gutsy effort by Bolt, who was coming off a long layoff.
Here is my predicted order of finish:
+ Win: Bolt d'Oro
+ Place: Magnum Moon
+ Show: Justify