Corey Nakatani aboard Bolt d'Oro during their victory in the 2017 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Corey Nakatani aboard Bolt d'Oro during their victory in the 2017 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park

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Castellano to Replace Nakatani Aboard Bolt d'Oro

East Coast-based jockey will ride Triple Crown hopeful in the San Felipe Stakes (G2).

Javier Castellano will replace jockey Corey Nakatani aboard Triple Crown hopeful Bolt d'Oro in his 3-year-old debut in the March 10 San Felipe Stakes (G2), owner and trainer Mick Ruis said Jan. 28.

Nakatani worked the two-time grade 1 winner in his first timed breeze of the year Jan. 27 at Santa Anita Park, and while Ruis expressed frustration with the rider after the drill—mostly because Nakatani wanted to bring Bolt d'Oro through the paddock following the workout instead of straight back to the barn—he said the change did not come because of that.

"That was just Corey being Corey," Ruis said of the Saturday workout. "We just wanted to ride Javier instead. It's nothing against Corey. It's what we feel is best for Bolt. Corey is still riding for us—he's still riding Union Strike and One Fast Broad—and he's going to keep working (Bolt d'Oro)."

Nakatani's agent and son, Matt Nakatani, said it is unlikely his father will work Bolt d'Oro without the mount in the colt's next race. Matt Nakatani also indicated there have been disagreements between Ruis and his father, but added that he felt, after the work, things had cooled off.

"I'm going to talk to my dad about it, but he's had a Hall of Fame career. And the last thing I'm going to do is ask him to be an exercise rider," Matt Nakatani said.

Corey Nakatani has ridden Bolt d'Oro in all four of his starts. The Medaglia d'Oro  colt won his debut by 2 1/4 lengths at Del Mar in August, then scored his pair of grade 1 wins—the Del Mar Futurity (G1) by three-quarters of a length Sept. 4 and the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) by 7 3/4 lengths Sept. 30 at Santa Anita—and was the 3-5 favorite for the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

But a very wide trip in the Juvenile resulted in a third-place finish for Bolt d'Oro, and a few months later Juvenile winner Good Magic edged out the West Coast-based colt for champion 2-year-old male honors by a vote of 133-113.