McKinzie ‘Showed He’s The Real Deal,’ Ruis ‘Super Happy’ With Bolt D’Oro

by | 03.11.2018 | 12:56pm
McKinzie and Bolt d'Oro battle to the wire in the San Felipe

In a race that exceeded expectations in drama, excitement and controversy, Bolt d'Oro was awarded victory by way of disqualification of McKinzie in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes.

The two leading Triple Crown candidates ran the gauntlet from the top of the stretch to the wire in the mile and one-sixteenth race that awarded 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner and 20 to the runner-up, and at the finish, McKinzie, on the rail under Mike Smith, had a head over Bolt d'Oro and Javier Castellano, each horse carrying 124 pounds.

Following a lengthy stewards' inquiry and Castellano's claim of foul, however, McKinzie's number was taken down for bumping incidents in the stretch and Bolt d'Oro was moved into first for a victory worth $240,000.

Speaking on behalf of stewards Grant Baker, Scott Chaney and Kim Sawyer, CHRB Chief Steward and former Eclipse Award-winning jockey Darrel McHargue issued the following statement regarding the San Felipe DQ:

“It was a unanimous vote, yes. There were two incidents at the top of the stretch. The shots that were shown were inconclusive as to who initiated the contact at the top of the stretch.  So they couldn't be clear on any one horse. The incident near the sixteenth pole was clear.

“McKinzie, number four, came out under a left handed whip and shifted number one, Bolt d'Oro, out, off his path and cost him a better placing. The margin of win was only a head, so therefore, McKinzie was taken down.”

Both Bolt d'Oro and McKinzie exited Saturday's controversial San Felipe Stakes in good order, according to Though McKinzie crossed the wire a head in front, he was disqualified for interference in the stretch and Bolt d'Oro was declared the winner. Trainer Bob Baffert was still frustrated by the stewards' decision on Sunday morning, but he remains pleased with McKinzie's effort.

“He showed he's the real deal,” Baffert said. “He was ready in case of a throw down. It's too bad the stewards got involved. It was a thrilling race.”

The controversy over the disqualification will no doubt be fodder for racetrack conversation for some time to come. No one is more keenly aware of the agony of defeat via DQ than trainer David Bernstein, who witnessed Phil and Sophie Hersh's The Wicked North finish first by 1 ½ lengths in the 1994 Big 'Cap, but subsequently have his number taken down in a most controversial decision.

“I think the disqualification was deserved,” said Bernstein. “McKinzie came out the last 16th, but it could have gone either way. The last bump was the kiss of death, however.

“You hate to see any disqualification in a big race, especially this one, because both horses ran their eyeballs out.”

Relief, pride, fulfillment and gratitude were but four emotions percolating through the veins of Mick Ruis, owner/trainer of Bolt d'Oro. The colt had missed his intended three-year-old debut on Feb. 10 in the San Vicente Stakes due to a pulled muscle, so Ruis, with time not on his side, had no alternative but to bring the son of Medaglia d'Oro into the San Felipe on works alone in his first start since finishing third after a wide trip Nov. 4 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Naysayers had a field day speculating that the horse wouldn't be up to the task, but Mick and his wife and co-owner, Wendy, restrained malice, enjoying a low key celebration last night at home with family and friends.

Too soon for champagne, they brought in pizza from Dominoes.

“Give a lot of credit to Ruis,” said fellow trainer Richard Baltas. “His horse is the real deal and he deserves it.”

Now racing fans worldwide sit in anticipation of a rematch in the $1 million, Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7, should the fates allow.

Both three-year-olds came out of their epic battle in good shape and are expected to meet again in the West Coast's major steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

“Bolt came back fantastic, ate his food, his legs are tight and cold, so we live for another day,” Ruis said early Sunday morning. “He's going to build off that race, because we didn't have him all the way (cranked).”

Asked whether Javier Castellano would stay with Bolt in his upcoming races, since the four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey has other Triple Crown options pending some two months before the Run for the Roses, Ruis was non-committal.

“I don't know yet,” he said. “We have to talk to Javier and see what he wants to do, but I've got another jockey who's licking his chops if he doesn't want to ride,” alluding to Hall of Fame member, three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Triple Crown king Victor Espinoza.

Jim Barnes, assistant to Bob Baffert, trainer of McKinzie, said the previously unbeaten colt came back “very good. We're in great shape.”

Ditto for racing, should Bolt and McKinzie meet again.

  • Michael Castellano

    “He showed he’s the real deal,” Baffert said. “He was ready in case of a throw down. It’s too bad the stewards got involved. It was a thrilling race.”

    And then he threatens to take the horse to another track. Classless spoiled mega millionaire. Didn’t hear him complain when McKinzie won a race two back on a DQ of another of his horses.

    • Bryan Patton

      SA has a history of poor decisions. not sure it’s any more complicated than that. This was an especially poor one.

      • Ben van den Brink

        Has to disagree

      • CapitalG

        What I thought was telling is the stewards explanation. They said they could not determine who initiated contact at the turn, but that if they thought it was Bolt D’oro then they probably would not have made a change.

      • Darryl Grumling

        Have to agree Bryan. Most of the takes obviously have to do on who wagered on who (and I didn’t wager on either; haven’t on Cali in a long time). But BDO gave as good as he got at the very least, for one. For two, the SA stews have this reputation for “letting ’em play” and hardly ever taking someone down.

        I’ve also seen some cluck-clucking about racetrack karma for Bayern not getting DQ’d and MK getting put up previously, but geez, how about actually getting it right one time?

        If you are going to do away with race-riding, which I really wish would happen, at least be consistent about it.

        • BBFan

          Well, first of all, betting on a Baffert horse usually gets you a penny on the dollar, so saying uou don’t bet in “Cali” ( only someone from the east would mistake the name of the state ), is a bit of a yawn in relation to this particular race. Secondly, it is not race riding to interfere with an opponent.

          • CapitalG

            Right…. nobody who lives in California ever says ‘Cali’.

      • Normanson

        Not compared to Gulfstream on a race-by-race basis.
        There wasn’t anything wrong with their decision yesterday, it could have gone either way. The Los Alamitos call in the Futurity was egregious; no way was Instilled Regard going to improve his placing if he didn’t get bumped.

        • Darryl Grumling

          Had to chuckle at your first sentence, Norm.

          But to be fair, and since I have been playing GP most of the winter, I am only aware of two brain-dead decisions by their stews, which has to be a vast improvement from previous years.

          Didn’t see the LA Futurity call, but will look it up.

    • Bill B.

      I thought he embarrassed himself greatly. It was a tough one to call, but I though it a legit DQ. Bolt did cause some interference on the turn, but the real problem was the continuous drifting out down the stretch by McKinzie. As you said, he didn’t complain about the even more questionable DQ of McKinzie, but it was to his own horse. The whining about horses having to stand out in the cold and rain was infantile. It’s California! It wasn’t that cold and horses don’t much care about rain. Bob should stay on the west coast if he or his horses are that delicate. I used to be a big fan of his, but over time, he has turned me off more and more. I know it’s unrelated, but he should never complain about the Santa Anita stewards after the 2014 BCC!

      • BBFan

        Oh, I do believe that is totally related… along with the behavior of Sky Kingdom in the 2014 Awesome Again & the ridiculous decision in the 2011 Big Cap, not to mention the 2017 CCA and the 2017 BCC where Churchill was used as a pinball between a couple of Baffert’s horses… In my mind, this is long overdue and I pray that it is indicative of a move towards a more level playing field

    • StrideBig

      Actually, I believe he did. He didn’t think Solomini should have been taken down and McKinzie moved up.

    • Guamo

      “Classless spoiled mega millionaire. ” Only reason I can think for the responses from trainer/rider is those ivory towers are very high in the sky, thus less oxygen to the brain.

    • Holly Wiiliams Woods

      Actually felt Like Bafford had a right to be mad. Bolt definitely made the first contact on top of the stretch and then came to Mike. If he would have went to the right hand he would have definitely interfered with him worse..So much for listening to WHiney Javier.

  • BrewsAllDay

    So Bolt hits him hard on the turn and Baffert gets taken down for a couple light taps in the stretch. Don’t blame Baffert for sending his horses elsewhere.

    • dan gable

      In 40+ years of watching horse racing, this DQ was a no brainer. If anybody else was training this horse, the decision would have taken 30 seconds instead of 10 minutes. Especially annoying was Baffert and Smith’s whining afterward. Lack of class from both.

      • BrewsAllDay

        No such thing as no brainer in horse racing as the stewards do whatever they want. If I were Baffert I would pull the whole string of horses for Derby and send elsewhere.

        • BBFan

          And several if his associates would say good riddance

          • BrewsAllDay

            Jealous Baffert is the best trainer in the world dope. He is but you are too dumb to know it.

        • Neigh Sayer

          LOL, yea because never gets a break.

        • gus stewart

          Wish cal stewards were replaced, that being said it was a no brainer dq.. watch race a few more times, head of stretch it was more McKenzie coming out smith wanted him to re rally to stay with bolt, inside sixteenth pole to finish smith came out 2 lanes wins by a head,, pretty simple call. But alot at stake in stakes race so it took them time,, but a little to much time because it was bobby b…

      • Luis Eduardo

        Dan gable
        Your right on spot couldn’t have said it better.

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

        Oh cry me a river
        Smith is one of the best jockey’s ever and runs clean is most of his races
        And like I said yesterday, the very same thing happened to Nakatani when riding Soltero October third and the Stewards did nothing.

        However since I have vented and feel better both horses will just have to prove themselves come Kentucky Derby day if that is meant to be

    • Neigh Sayer

      It had nothing to do with bumping, it had to do with him leaning on him and steering him out off his path.

      • BrewsAllDay

        You can lean on the other horse as long as you don’t block his path dope. That’s what I saw and bad decision by stewards.

        • Neigh Sayer

          Ha, and you called me a dope? LOL. He took rode him out 2 to 3 paths. You can get away with laying on another horse if you take action to keep your horse straight which Mike did not do. He rode him out off his path while continuing to strike left handed taking no action to correct his horse. Thus the DQ and 3 days. And I’m a dope? LOL.

  • BBFan

    Good on Richard Baltas … see? If you treat others with respect, they usually respond in kind. Someone needs to be taking notes…

    • GoodnessMe

      On a lay up. You know. What any good horseman would do with him about now. Sounds like you need one, too.

  • Tom Gaeta

    This affront to racing will be adjudicated in the Santa Anita Derby when Justify comes and avenges Baffert in a Romp over the Bolt. Just you wait and see!

    • BBFan

      Oh, goodness me, I think Baffert is the affront to racing ;-)

  • disqus_Wp1tYwcjgm

    I don’t recall Lukas reacting this way when Sporting chance did not get moved up over Combatant in the Southwest. That non call was far worse than this call.

  • Barry

    At the top of the stretch Bolt turned that race into a hockey game. McKinzie was robbed.

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram