Corey Nakatani (Coady Photography)

A two-time Grade 1 winner and third-place finisher after a wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Mick Ruis’ talented sophomore colt Bolt d’Oro did not bring home year-end championship honors in 2017. Jockey Corey Nakatani took a lot of the blame for the wide trip at Del Mar, and when the horse started his campaign in 2018, it was Javier Castellano in the irons.

Nakatani had been aboard for Bolt d’Oro’s first work of the year, a three-eighths move in early February. He guided the horse through the paddock gardens following the work, as do a number of top trainers and jockeys, but Ruis was reported to be extremely unhappy about that decision. When Nakatani lost the mount, many speculated that that was the final reason behind the change.

“That’s not what happened at all,” Nakatani told Mike Willman on the Thoroughbred Los Angeles radio show on Sunday. “I was unable to be the best man in Mick Jr.’s wedding.”

Mick Ruis Jr. is a former jockey, with whom Nakatani has been friends for a long time.

“I told him that I would be his best man… unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that, and I apologized to him and I said that I had to ride this filly in the stake for Mr. Hollendorfer, and he understood. There’s some things that are out of your control. If I had to take it back, I would have held my commitment with Mick because it’s once in a lifetime.”

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