Bolo springs 32-1 upset in Shoemaker Mile

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May 29th, 2019

Bolo has always shown talent, but now we can add durability and resilience to his list of desirable traits. How many horses can take two years away from competition, return at the age of 7 and parlay a single prep run into a grade 1 victory?

Bolo used his frontrunning speed to dominate the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Memorial Day, a victory that earned the son of Temple City a “Win and You’re In” berth into the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

He entered the Shoemaker Mile off a fifth-place finish in an April 28 optional-claiming allowance at Santa Anita, his first run since a sixth-place finish in the 2017 Shoemaker Mile. The three-time stakes winner was ignored at 32-1 in the wagering, but when the gates sprung open and Bolo sprinted to a clear lead through fractions of :23.51, :46.95 and 1:10.44, it was readily apparent the old Bolo had returned.

Entering the homestretch Bolo maintained his advantage under urging from jockey Florent Geroux, sprinting the penultimate eighth in :11.74 and the final furlong in :11.89 to hold his challengers clear by 1 1/4 lengths. The ground-saving River Boyne could never reach even terms and finished second, while Bowies Hero unleashed his charge too late to fall a nose short of the runner-up spot. Favored Delta Prince, coming off a win in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland, failed to fire and struggled home seventh.
The Shoemaker Mile marked a career-best effort from Bolo, who stopped the clock in 1:34.07 and secured his first grade 1 win thanks to the patience of his trainer/owner team, Carla Gaines and Golden Pegasus Racing.

“The first race in April was a bit far for him, and he hadn’t run in basically two years, so it was sort of like, let’s get him out there and have him carve out some easy fractions and see if  he can keep going,” Gaines told the Santa Anita publicity department. “He got a little tired in the end, but today he didn’t. … It’s hard to say in words what this means. I can’t verbalize it. He means everything to our barn. He’s the chief.”

Geroux was likewise pleased with Bolo’s performance.

“Right from the beginning he broke sharp to take the lead easily, so I said, 'Why take him back?'" the rider said. "The horse took a few good breathers during the race, and I knew from that point he was the horse to catch.”

Having demonstrated that age has not dulled his ability, Bolo has emerged as a serious contender for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. You would be hard-pressed to find a better match for the course and distance, since all four of Bolo’s stakes wins (three of them graded) have come running a mile over the Santa Anita turf course.

“He ran a big race and the pace was legit. … I’ll be back on him for the Breeders’ Cup,” Geroux said.