Christmas is about to come five months late for B. Wayne Hughes.
In December, Mick Ruis, owner and trainer of dual grade 1 winner and Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) hopeful Bolt d'Oro, was looking for a special Christmas gift to give Hughes for all the help and kindness he showed him in purchasing half the breeding rights to the son of Medaglia d'Oro .
Ruis decided that if Bolt d'Oro made it to the Kentucky Derby, the colt would run in Hughes' Spendthrift Farm silks.
"Mr. Hughes is 85 years old and I'm 57, and I just wanted to do it for him," Ruis said. "I will speak to the Churchill Downs stewards on Monday, and whatever has to be done to make this happen, we will do."
Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm added, "Because of how special their relationship became, Mick Ruis wanted to get something for Mr. Hughes that he didn't need but would appreciate. Mr. Hughes had secured the breeding rights to the colt after his victory in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). Mick retained 100% of the racing rights, while selling 50% of the breeding rights to Mr. Hughes. He's been such a tremendous partner, Mick wanted to do something special for him. Mr. Hughes was very touched and heartfelt when he learned what Mick was going to do."
Bolt d'Oro emerged as one of the leading 2-year-olds last year, winning the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner Stakes, the latter by nearly eight lengths. A wide trip compromised his chances in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), and he finished third, a defeat that likely cost him the 2-year-old championship.
This year, Bolt d'Oro, whom Ruis purchased for $630,000 in 2016 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, won the San Felipe Stakes (G2) on the disqualification of McKinzie, then ran second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).