DEL MAR, Calif. -- Good fortune in business has allowed Mick Ruis to follow his passion of training the horses he owns, and on Monday at Del Mar, he followed that passion right to the winner's circle with a colt who could take him to even bigger and better places in the coming months.
Bolt d'Oro, making only the second start of his career, overcame an awkward start with a powerful five-wide move on the turn that carried him to victory in the Grade 1, $301,380 Del Mar Futurity, highlight of the meet's closing day.
Bolt d'Oro had won here on Aug. 5, also after not getting away cleanly, and certainly looked like one of the top contenders in what appeared to be a strong field. So the manner in which he won, plus Ruis's assertion that Bolt d'Oro was far from his best, means he could be a major player for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile here on Nov. 4, plus races next spring at age 3.
"I had this horse maybe 70-percent cranked," said Ruis, who said Bolt d'Oro would run in the FrontRunner [Stakes] at Santa Anita on Sept. 30 as a prep for the Breeders' Cup. "I'll have him a bit tighter for the FrontRunner, so we're real excited about that.
"This wasn't the most important. It's a stepping-stone to longer races. We're only going to improve."
Bolt d'Oro ($9.80), ridden by Corey Nakatani, prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Zatter. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to Run Away, the 5-2 favorite, who suffered his first loss after three victories.
Dia de Pago was fourth and was followed, in order, by Soul Streit, Tatters to Riches, Gracida, Master Ruler, and Fleetwood.
Bolt d'Oro covered seven furlongs in 1:22.91 on the fast main track.
Soul Streit, starting from the rail, was sent aggressively and led through fast fractions of 21.88 seconds for the opening quarter and 44.54 seconds for the half, with Master Ruler and then Run Away in closest pursuit.
Zatter, who got a sweet three-wide trip from the outside post, moved to take the lead entering the lane, but Bolt d'Oro continued with his extended run and got up in the final yards to win going away.
"He's got so much talent," said Ruis, who purchased Bolt d'Oro, a son of Medaglia d'Oro, for $630,000 in August 2016 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale. "Five, six wide, and at the end drawing away."
Ruis, 56, made his fortune when he sold a scaffolding company, allowing him to return to the track, where he had trained previously, but play at a different level.
"I like doing things my way," he said.
That became evident a year ago. Ruis won the Del Mar Debutante in 2016 with Union Strike, who was listed as being trained by his daughter, Shelbe. By the time Union Strike raced again, Ruis was listed as trainer. Shelbe currently assists, and Wendy - Ruis's wife and Shelbe's mother - is also very active at the barn.
That passion for racing is a family affair.