Trainer Carla Gaines’ Bolo made a winning return to Southern California on Friday, taking Santa Anita’s $65,000 turf allowance feature by 2 3/4 lengths.
Bolo was last seen finishing 12th, beaten 12 3/4 lengths in the Kentucky Derby.
Friday at Santa Anita, he led comfortably through fractions of 23.80, 49.05, 1:13.40 and 1:37.67 while repelling a challenge from runner-up Royal Albert Hall. Bolo covered 1 1/8 mile under Rafael Bejarano in 1:49.48.
“My horse doesn’t have to be on the lead, but he made it so easy, I just stayed there,” said Bejarano, who broke from the outside in a field of five sophomores. “He was training good on the dirt going into the (Kentucky) Derby, but he has so much confidence on the grass, he’s much better on it. He doesn’t make any noise on the grass and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s one of the best horses in California on grass.”
The heavy favorite at 1-5, Bolo, a Kentucky-bred colt by Temple City, out of the Chief Seattle mare Aspen Mountain, paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10. Owned by Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc. and Earle Mack, he got his third win, all of them on grass,from seven overall starts.
“He did what we hoped he would do,” said Keith Brackpool, on behalf of co-owner Golden Pegasus. “I think he’s a monster on the turf. We had to give the dirt a try, it was a fun run and he did not disgrace himself. He got squeezed at the end of the Derby so Rafael had to ease him a little, so he wasn’t tired from it.
“I don’t think we saw what he’s capable of today…I think he was forced to go to the lead because there was no pace which wasn’t what I really wanted to see…We obviously want to see how he comes out of it, but we’d like to take a look at the Belmont Derby.”
Royal Albert Hall loomed ominously turning for home, but never threatened the winner, finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Hero Ten All. Hero Ten All bobbled at the break, was last at the rail throughout, bided his time around the far turn, swung three-wide turning for home and was third best.