Ruis Racing's Bolt d'Oro will be pointed to the $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) June 9 on Belmont Stakes Day, marking his first appearance since running 12th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).
The Derby misfire was the only time in seven career starts the Medaglia d'Oro colt finished off the board. He started his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the March 10 San Felipe Stakes (G2) and finished second to Triple Crown threat Justify in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
"We think this race is good because he'll make a really good stallion, and people on the East Coast really like to see if they have speed and stamina, so I thought it was a good spot for him," trainer Mick Ruis said.
Breaking from post 11 in the Derby, Bolt d'Oro was forced wide in the first turn, managed to stay close to the frontrunners, but tired in the stretch on the sloppy (sealed) Churchill Downs track. Ruis said the rest, along with the cutback from 1 1/4 miles, could be beneficial for the Kentucky-bred.
"You'd think it'd help. We wanted to give him a little bit of time after the Derby," Ruis said. "He came back good. He just didn't like the slop, and he was in the real heavy part of the track, going six wide. We'll find out when he runs on it how he likes the track (at Belmont Park)."
The Derby marked the first time Bolt d'Oro raced outside of California. He won his first three races, including the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the FrontRunner Stakes (G1), before capping his 2-year-old campaign with a third in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Currently training at Keeneland, where he is scheduled to breeze Monday and again June 3, Bolt d'Oro is scheduled to ship to New York on the same plane as Justify June 6, Ruis said.
"He ships fine," Ruis said. "He's such a good-minded horse."
Ruis said grade 1 winner Union Strike, who hasn't made a start since an off-the-board effort in the Jan. 13 La Canada Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, is expected to run in the $200,000 Intercontinental Stakes (G3T) at seven furlongs on the turf June 7, Opening Day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
The 4-year-old Union Rags filly will be making her first start on Belmont's Big Sandy since finishing fifth in last year's Acorn Stakes (G1), in which she suffered a quarter crack and had seven months off.
"She's doing great. I've been wanting to get her on the turf for a long time," Ruis said. "I think the issues are behind her now, and we're ready to get her on the turf."