Bolt d'Oro and Quip each earned 50 Derby points with a wins in qualifying races as Santa Anita and Tampa Bay Downs.
The $400,000, Grade 2 San Felipe at the Arcadia oval became a match race between Grade 1 winners Bolt d'Oro and McKinzie that was finally decided by the stewards.
With Hall of Fame riders Mike Smith on McKinzie on the inside and Javier Castellano on Bolt d'Oro on his outside, the two bumped passing the quarter pole. Down the stretch, Smith was working on McKinzie, the winner of the Grade 3 Sham and the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity, with a vigorous left hand. Castellano was equally energetic on Bolt d'Oro, the winner of the Grade 1 Front Runner and Del Mar Futurity Stakes.
The stewards looked over the head-on video for more than 20 minutes before finally disqualifying Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman's McKinzie, who won the photo by a neck, and placed him second.
That gave the win to Ruis Racing's Bolt d'Oro and 50 Kentucky Derby points to go with his earlier total of 14 for a total of 64 and a very likely a stall in the starting gate for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. McKinzie collected 20 points to raise his total to 40. That number is more than likely to require Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to find another start for his colt.
Kanthaka took third money and collected 10 Derby points. Peace was fourth to earn five points.
As for Bolt d'Oro's next race, trainer Mick Ruis said, “This wasn't the race we were really pointing for. We want to go to the Santa Anita Derby (on April 7).”
Baffert was obviously disturbed after the disqualification when he told interviewers, “Javier (Casetellano) had a better story, I guess. I'm shocked after the way (Bolt d'Oro) hit us at the top of the stretch. I don't know what they're looking at. But, apparently he talked them into it. That's why (the stewards) should never talk to the jockeys, just watch it themselves.”
Quip Victorious in 2018 Debut
At Oldsmar, Fla., Quip made his 2018 debut a winning won when he pulled away from Flameaway late and went on to win the $400,000 Lambholm South Florida Derby as a 19 to 1 outsider.
The WinStar home bred, who races for his breeders and partners China Horse Club and SF Racing, defeated eight rivals in the mile and a sixteenth Derby in Tampa Bay's signature race to earn 50 Derby points.
The win for the colt by Distorted Humor from the Indian Charlie mare Princess Ash may very well have given trainer Rudolphe Brisset his first Kentucky Derby starter in his first 13 months of being in business for himself. The former assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott went out on his own in April last year.
Jockey Florent Geroux kept Quip off the pace set by World of Trouble and the New York based Irad Ortiz, Jr. until Quip challenged for the lead around the far turn. He outran runner up Flamaway in the stretch to gain a one length win over that one with World of Trouble third.
When asked about Quip's next engagement, WinStar president Elliot Walden said, “We're going to enjoy this one and go from there.”
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