by NYRA Press Release (Featured on Paulick Report)


Julien Leparoux and Florent Geroux.

Two-time Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro worked a half-mile Sunday morning at Keenelandunder multiple graded-stakes winning jockey Florent Geroux, who will be aboard for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap.

Owned and trained by Mick Ruis, Bolt d’Oro completed the distance in 48.40 seconds to rank 18th of 56 horses over Keeneland’s main track. He has now worked twice in Kentucky following his 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, also going five furlongs in 57 seconds May 28.

“We just wanted to go a nice, easy half. We had our serious work last week and I thought it was a perfect work for him,” Ruis said. “He went as easy as you can go and he galloped out seven-eighths, and Florent said it was like nothing for him. The horse is fit and ready to go, so we’re excited.”

As a 3-year-old, Bolt d’Oro was assigned just 114 pounds against his older rivals in the Met Mile, a “Win and You’re In” event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. It will be his first time against elders, and first race shorter than 1 1/16 miles since winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs last September.

Geroux will be the fourth jockey to ride Bolt d’Oro, whose first four races came under Corey Nakatani who, like Ruis, is based in California. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano was up for a win via disqualification in the Grade 2 San Felipe and a runner-up finish behind Justify in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Justify will be attempting to become the 13th Triple Crown champion in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

Victor Espinoza rode Bolt d’Oro in the Kentucky Derby, where they chased a demanding pace set by the Bob Baffert-trained Justify before fading to the colt’s only off-the-board finish in seven career starts.

“I will ride Corey, but he couldn’t make the 114. He could maybe get down to 119, so I talked to him and he understood. That’s the weight they give 3-year-olds,” Ruis said. “I was also looking for someone that could work him here. [Geroux] was in Bob Baffert’s barn working Restoring Hope and Bob mentioned to me that he thought he’d be a good choice to ride the horse.

“Anybody can ride Bolt. The guy is push-button,” he added. “He’s amazing and his mind is amazing. If you ask him to go, he goes. If you ask him to stop, he stops. He’s just a really, really easy horse to ride.”