The Journey of Medaglia d'Oro

From 2002, when he was one of the top-ranked 3-year-olds in the country, to his current status as one of the hottest and most sought after stallions in the world, Medaglia d'Oro has captivated people with his magnificent physical presence.

He was sensational looking then and he's sensational looking now, his coat still gleaming and dappled and his conformation near flawless.

He has become so popular and successful a sire, he was purchased by Darley earlier this month for a price only one can speculate.

But despite his reign high atop the equine monarchy, Medaglia d'Oro was not "to the manor born." He in fact spent his youth on a farm in Montana and later did his early training literally in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Born at Katalpa Farm in Paris, Ky., Medaglia d'Oro was sent to the farm of his owner/breeder, Joyce and Albert Bell, who have a 110-acre spread outside Great Falls, Montana. After being broken, he was about to return to Kentucky for his early training when the Bells' trainer, Kent Jensen, suggested they send him to a small ranch in Arizona, which was located pretty much in the middle of nowhere, between Cave Creek and Carefree.

Running the ranch was Jensen's exercise rider at Turf Paradise, Raland (Ral) Ayers, who worked there with his brother Lance. Jensen had helped them get started, lining up a few yearlings for them to break, and he and Ral would divide their time between the ranch and the racetrack. Lance also galloped horses for trainer Jeff Mullins, and broke eventual Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buddy Gil.

The Bells agreed to send Medaglia d'Oro to the Arizona ranch, shipping the big, strapping yearling down just after Thanksgiving. "The day he arrived, he had dapples on him you wouldn't believe," Jensen recalled.

Over the next five months, Medaglia d'Oro grew into a racehorse, but it certainly wasn't the conventional early training one would expect for a future star, who would win the Travers, Whitney, Oaklawn Handicap, Donn Handicap, Strub Stakes, Jim Dandy, and San Felipe Stakes and finish second twice in the Breeders' Cup Classic, as well as the Belmont Stakes, Dubai World Cup, Wood Memorial, and Pacific Classic.

"It was just a little training track out in the middle of nowhere," Jensen recalled. "It didn't even have a rail. When I first saw the place I didn't like it, but it was close enough to Turf Paradise. Ral would take Medaglia d'Oro out and go riding off through the desert, out there with the cactus."

"I can't even remember the name of the place," Ayers said. "It was just a little cowboy ranch."

But Ayers and Jensen certainly got more than they bargained for with Medaglia d'Oro. "He stood out right from the beginning," Ayers recalled. "He had size and was well put together, and was very athletic. People would come to look at the young horses, and they'd always ask, 'Who's that one?'"

Jensen and Ayers began to think that maybe they had something special on their hands; certainly something you wouldn't expect to find running out in the middle of the Arizona desert.

"The first day I had him out on the track for a jog, he bowed his neck and knew exactly what he was supposed to do," Ayers said. "I had to back him up in order to slow him down. He was never intimidated by other horses. He was just a pro from day one. The first time I galloped him, he went between two horses like he'd been doing it all his life. I've never been around a horse with that much class."

As Medaglia d'Oro's training picked up, he continued to amaze Ayers and Jensen. "He'd go two miles with rings on, then breeze three furlongs in :35 1/5," Jensen recalled. "You just didn't see young horses breeze in :35 1/5 after going two miles. It was nothing to him. He had an unbelievable stride. I trained him like I would a 3-year-old. The first time Ral got on him, he told me, 'This colt is something.' I never train a 2-year-old two miles, but from the first day he stepped foot on the track he wanted to train. You live your life to be around a horse like this. He was something special."

The following April, Medaglia d'Oro was ready to be shipped to the racetrack, and the Bells sent him to trainer Dave Vance. While training at Churchill Downs that fall, he caught the eye of former trainer-turned bloodstock agent Mark Reid, who had just bought a 2-year-old named Labamta Babe for Bobby Frankel and owner Edmund Gann. Reid wasn't in the market for another young horse at the time, having just bought a potential classic prospect for Frankel.

Medaglia d'Oro made his first start on Dec. 7 at Turfway Park and finished second, breaking from the 12 post. Shortly after the race, Vance packed up shop and headed for Oaklawn Park. In February, Reid showed up looking for a new Derby horse for Frankel after Labamta Babe suffered an injury following an impressive victory in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II).

When Reid ran into Vance at the rail one morning, he told him to keep an eye out for any good-looking 3-year-olds.

"Well, remember that colt you watched train at Churchill last fall?" Vance said. "There's no horse on the grounds who can beat him. He was second first time out, and I'm gonna run him again pretty soon. Watch him and let me know what you think."

When he was entered on Feb. 9, Reid called Frankel and told him to watch this colt. With Reid watching from Philadelphia Park, Medaglia d'Oro won by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:10 4/5 for the six furlongs, earning a sensational 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Frankel was unable to get to a TV and missed the race, but Reid told him this was a horse they definitely wanted to pursue. Frankel saw the huge speed figures the colt posted and gave Reid the green light.

The Bells told Jensen about the offer, and he felt the price they were offering was too good to pass up. "If I had known he had run a 101 Beyer in that race, I would have told them not to sell," Jensen said, "When they told me it was Frankel who had bought him, I said, 'Well, at least we'll find out how good he really is.'"

And that they did, as Medaglia d'Oro developed into one of the leading horses in the country, winning grade I stakes at 3, 4, and 5, while earning over $5.7 million.

Recently, when his daughter Rachel Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes, and Gabby's Golden Gal and Payton d'Oro, captured the Acorn Stakes and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, all within a five-week period, Medaglia's d'Oro's stock soared and he joined the elite band of Sheikh Mohammed's stallions at Darley Stud. He currently is the leading second-crop sire in North America.

And it all began on a little ranch in the middle of the Arizona desert.

53 Comments

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Scottish Racing

It is quite sad that Darley have now resorted to buying stallions as they seem incapable of breeding them. One can only hope that the 2YO's that are with Andre Fabre turn the tide for them. I remember Medalgia D'Oro well. We had just started getting US racing over here and it seemed that only Bobby Frankel could win a graded race. Your man and Jerry Bailey were unstoppable.

15 Jun 2009 1:50 PM
bill

Interesting story, Steve. Don't forget that other filly of his, Payton d'Oro.  She's not too shabby either.

15 Jun 2009 1:59 PM
darlene

I know he will be well cared for at Darley we are visiting him there in August, cant wait to see him  Darlene.

15 Jun 2009 2:10 PM
Paseana

Thanks Steve for this piece.  Well done, as usual.

I personally think that Medaglia d'Oro is one of the most underappreciated horses of the last 10 or 15 years.  He was out of the exacta only twice in 17 starts and earned a BSF under 100 only twice, once in his debut, and the other in an uncharacteristic clunker in the Preakness.

I think he got an undeserved reputation as a horse that "couldn't get 1-1/4 miles".  That's ridiculous, imo!  Granted, he only actually won at that distance once and was four-times second, but in those 4 seconds along with a second at 12f, he was either compromised by classy other speed (see Congaree), or he was unlucky enough to run into a horse that just freaked (see Buddha, Sarava, Volponi, Candy Ride, and Pleasantly Perfect in the BCC).  Sometimes, it was both.  Pleasantly Perfect was the only horse to defeat him twice at 10 panels, and that one was maybe the only true mile-and-a-quarter horse we've seen on the track since Tiznow.  And even though he finished 2nd at the distance more than he won, he beat everybody else, didn't he?  I've never been able to find any evidence at all that he couldn't get a mile and a quarter!  That's just dumb!  End of rant!

I thought last year, when his first crop made its debut, that he had considerable potential at stud, if only for his overpowering physical class.  I did think they might need a little time to develop, but he's proven me wrong there.  I do think it's kind of peculiar that all of his success so far has been with fillies!  Unless I'm forgetting somebody, I don't remember any colts as yet raising eyebrows.  That's just a strange phenomenon that happens once in a while.....reminiscent of Secretariat.  I wonder if, like that one, it means that a stellar career as a broodmare sire might be in his future.  Do ya think?

Many are upset that he was sold to Darley, but I'm not one of them.  I think this is a positive move for this young sire.  His management will be elevated, maybe even to the level of Street Cry, and that's pretty huge!

By the way, have you noticed that Rachel Alexandra is almost a reincartion?  She has her dad's size, a good deal of his presence, his running style, and that same wickedly high cruising speed.  She's a scary one indeed!

Thanks again, Steve, for the wonderful article!

15 Jun 2009 2:28 PM
Freetex

Very interesting article, Steve.

How lucky the horse was to spend time in Montana and then on to Arizona to train. Who knew?

15 Jun 2009 2:31 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Bill, I forgot all about Payton d'Oro. I added her to the story.

15 Jun 2009 2:34 PM
DARLA

HE WAS NO. 1 WHEN HE WAS ON THE RACE TRACK AND IS STILL NO. ONE NOW....I HAVE MANY PICTURES OF HIM IN MY HOUSE....I EVEN HAVE HIM ON MY COFFE CUP!!!! I LOVE THIS HORSE. I LOOK FORWARD TO VISITING HIM AT DARLEY...THE GUYS THAT WORK THERE ARE VERY GENEROUS AND CARING!!

15 Jun 2009 3:18 PM
Zookeeper

Loved Medaglia. Saw him race at Santa Anita. Awesome horse! I'm so glad he's successful at stud. As to Darley, at least they are keeping him in the U.S. and will probably breed their best mares to him...which will further advance his career as a stallion.

Hope to see some good colts in the near future. If they are anything like their sire, they will be a feast for the eyes and a joy for the racing fans. (As is Rachel)

Steve, I love the way you dig up new angles to tell a story. Maybe there's a lot to say about letting a horse be a horse. His early experiences in Montana and the AZ desert probably had a lot to do with his self confidence as a race horse.

Medaglia d'Oro you rock !!!

15 Jun 2009 3:30 PM
Karen in Texas

Really interesting, as always. I thought Medaglia d'Oro was talented, and as beautiful a horse as I have ever seen. That he is becoming an important sire is exciting and adds to his status in the racing world. I had no idea that he, like several horses this year, had a Southwestern regional connection!

15 Jun 2009 3:40 PM
MLS

That horse was just great when he was racing and now is fantastic as a sire.  How fortunate that he made is out of the desert.  Thank goodness his ability was recognized so all the talent and genetics didn't go to waste.  

15 Jun 2009 4:48 PM
Cgriff

Hi Steve!

Great article and such a cool backstory on Medaglia d'Oro!

Question - do you think his unconventional early training - being allowed to just be a trail horse kicking around in the desert gave him the bottom to keep him so healthy and sound throughout a 4 year long career?

I often think that if we'd stop trying to show-pony our yearlings for the sales ring and just let them knock around in the field and on the trails - they might get more strength of bone out of it.

Opinion?  And thanks again for the great inside scoop on a wonderful runner and sire.

15 Jun 2009 5:09 PM
corona cash

I looked forward to every race he was entered, because he always showed up and ran a big race(exception noted)!  big br, smarty, and so many who starred in TC never even made it to the fall of 3 y o season, yet Medaglio d'oro was still a star at five.  His second in dubai was an awesome performance.  Can't say enough about this awesome horse, and am looking forward to seeing all his get on the track!!  

15 Jun 2009 5:44 PM
Driftin Sage

Great story!  Wish we could get more like it on all these beautiful and talented creatures. Way to go, Mr Haskins!

Cgriff, I agree with you. Yes, let em knock around awhile and be a horse and build up those muscles and let those bones grow and get stronger without all the hard hammering and pounding that the racing  on a track does to them.  Let them mature as they do this and learn more about a horse life and learn other things, too, instead of rushing straight to the track to run in a circle too soon and damage those small bones before they have fully developed and grown to be as strong as they can be.  Might not have as many injuries.  

15 Jun 2009 6:00 PM
Runfast159

Cgriff -

I wonder the same thing all the time.  Buyers are too fixated on how "pretty" a horse looks.  I have raised my foals on terrain that would make a thoroughbred breeder cringe.  My horses have free roam of 35 hilly acres with creeks, trees, stumps, gopher holes, blackberries, and rocks to negotiate.  Maybe I am just fortunate that they have great hooves and have never, ever been hurt. The flip side is I don't race them at 2 and 3 years of age, they aren't bred for that.  But I also believe that the terrain helps to develop the tendon, ligament, muscle and bone structure necessary to support their bodies, for whatever physical activity they are pointed towards.

After watching horses run this weekend, and the continued raging debate over synthetic vs dirt tracks, I couldn't help to think that a horse who is going to break down on the dirt is probably going to break down on a grass or synthetic track.  A weak horse is a weak horse.

15 Jun 2009 6:15 PM
ezevans

Cgriff:  Like your question as I often ponder that myself. I guess in my mind if I went to a sale, I'd tend to get the scruffy ones (so to speak) as I'd assume they had come in from the field.  And to clarify I'm a horse "pet" owner and have owned a few racehorses in the past and my knowledge probably couldn't fill half a sheet of paper.

I loved this horse and enjoyed watching him race.  He was one of those big-bodied horses that you just knew would develop into a great older horse.  Thanks for the write up Steve.

15 Jun 2009 6:31 PM
David

A horse with a very high cruising speed who didn't back down from anything.

15 Jun 2009 6:48 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: OK, I know this is off topic here, but can't resist.

Is the horse shortage in some jurisdictions so bad that moose are now knocking at the doors of racetracks hoping to fill some cards? ;-)

15 Jun 2009 8:04 PM
jamie

scottish man have you forgotten about street sense a darley bred

15 Jun 2009 8:31 PM
peter

joyce bell is as good raising babies as anyone in the game! the list is long...........david vance certainly didn't tell al he was the best on the grounds!........false..... al asked him that ? he woulnd't have sold.........

15 Jun 2009 9:24 PM
Coldfacts

Scottish Racing, Darley/Gododphin has bred several stallions but mostly for turf. Remember the major part of their operation was initially based  in Europe.

Below are some of stallions that have bred:

Street Cry – Street Sense, Zenyatta

Dubawi

Storming Home

Sakhee

Doyen

Bahri – Sakhee: Arc winner

Cape Cross - Ouija Board: two times Breeder Cup winner

Did you make the same comment when they bought into Distorted Humor?

15 Jun 2009 10:15 PM
Soldier Course

For Big Red:

Seeing that moose trying to get into Saratoga Race Course reminds me of a wonderful book, "If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name" by Heather Lende of NPR. Lende lives in Alaska and writes obituaries for her local newspaper, and it's this work that inspired her book. The front cover of the book is a photo of a moose climbing up her front steps. You'd like this book

15 Jun 2009 10:17 PM
Coldfacts

DARLA, you cannot be serious with your statement below.

HE WAS NO. 1 WHEN HE WAS ON THE RACE TRACK AND IS STILL NO. ONE NOW....

On too many occasions he was beaten by lesser horses. I will concede that Pleasantly Perfect and Candy Ride are better horses. However, Buddha, Sarava and Valponi all won their only G1 race defeating him. All the horses he defeated were basically Gll horses i.e., Gold Dollar, U S S Tinsa, Kudos, Olmodavor, Seattle Fitz etc. He was good on the track but not exceptional and certainly not #1.

15 Jun 2009 10:32 PM
Soldier Course

For Big Red:

The NBC Sports online headline for the story about the moose at Saratoga reads:

"Animal draws onlookers at historic race track before workers take it away."

By "it" I hope they're talking about the moose and not the race track. Hard to tell these days.

Nice conformation picture of the moose.

15 Jun 2009 11:08 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I like your piece on Medaglia D’oro. He was a very genuine performer.  However, I think Birdstone is more deserving of your excellent writing skill. He is part of a dynasty that makes him a far more interesting story than Medaglia D’oro. The dynasty started with Derby winner Unbridled who sire derby winner Grindstone. Grindstone went on to sire Belmont winner Birdstone. Birdstone has now sired Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont winner Summer Bird. The gelding Mine That Bird obviously cannot continue the dynasty but Summer Bird baring misfortune will have that opportunity. It is ironic that none of the horses forming the dynasty have won more than one leg of the TC.

In addition to the dynasty, no other first crop stallion has ever sired winners of two legs of the Triple Crown. Birdstone has the distinction of being one of only two horses to win the Champagne Gl, Belmont Gl and Travers Gl. He defeated two Derby/Preakness winners in his G1 victories i.e., Smarty Jones & Funny Cide. Birdstone does not have the profile of Medaglia D’oro  and certainly has not received the quality mare  that feature in Medaglia D’oro  annual books. In fact, the mare that produced Mine That Bird was unraced and the one that produced Summer Bird did not record a victory in 9 starts. This great, great grandson of Mr. Prospector is superseded by none as a first crop sire.

15 Jun 2009 11:24 PM
cat thief

Those two longshots Sarava and Volponi cost him (and me) mucho oro.  I find it interesting that while he was decent in his Triple Crown attempts vs. War Emblem and Proud Citizen, he got better by the time of his Travers and is the better stallion.

Speaking (writing?) of the Travers, is the reigning champ Col. John waiting for the Whitney, or will he be ready for the Hollywood G Cup?

16 Jun 2009 12:25 AM
Soldier Course

Thanks, Steve, for this interesting article about Medaglia d'Oro, with details about his early life. I began developing my passion for horse racing in 2002, a great year for Medaglia d'Oro. So whenever I hear his name, I think of those early days of "falling in love".

There is a "soldier course" in the photograph of Medaglia d'Oro on Page 1892 of the May 23, 2009 issue of The Blood-Horse.(Probably the only time my picture will be in the magazine!)

With all the attention on Birdstone these days, glad you gave Medaglia d'Oro his share as well.

16 Jun 2009 8:33 AM
hmb0725

Great article, Steve as always! Thanks!

16 Jun 2009 10:16 AM
Tiznowbaby

cat thief, Eoin has been quoted as looking for a mid-July start for Colonel John. CJ apparently is rounding into shape more quickly than they thought, but they don't want to put in the San Diego because that will be Well Armed's first race since Dubai.

16 Jun 2009 10:32 AM
mz

FYI, Tasty Temptation, another 3yo Medaglia d'Oro filly, is reported to be entered in the Queens Plate this weekend after finishing 2nd in the Woodbine Oaks.  I like her.  She might be one of the favourites, running against Eye of the Leopard, who I also like.

I'm wondering if Medaglia d'Oro might be a filly sire, like Secretariat.

16 Jun 2009 11:54 AM
Matthew W

Madaglia D' Oro was/is a top horse---Steve, the next guy you haveta talk about is the amazing Candy Ride, when you ask the question who's the best since 'Bid, ya gotta put this guy into the mix, his Pac Classic is the stuff of legends, he almost unseated Krone, then ran down Madaglia like he was nailed to the track! But, no doubt, Madaglia D' Oro has a leg up on him as a stallion right now...but there's a big future for them both---throw in Tiznow and Giants Causeway and ya gotta love those "Young Turks" of thoroughbred breeding-dom!  

16 Jun 2009 12:11 PM
Steve Haskin

coldfacts, you say Darla can't be serious with her comment. Surely, you are not serious with your comment. I wouldn't even attempt to respond to it. Please tell me you're joking so I can take you seriously in the future. And my comment to you has nothing to do with the merits of Birdstone and Medaglia d'Oro. It is your suggesting I should not write a story on a horse, because he supposedly doesn't measure up to another horse.

16 Jun 2009 12:17 PM
Runfast159

Coldfacts, I don't know if I would consider Birdstone part of a "dynasty".  Yes, they won classic races and have produced classic winners, but a career surely should be graded on more than a brief period of time on the track.  I loved Unbridled, but soundness in that line seems suspect to me.  Grindstone raced 6 times, Birdstone 9 times.  It makes me wonder why people want to go to those lines.  It is too early to say if Birdstone's progeny will, over the course of their careers, be more or less durable than Medgalia d'Oro's.  But if I had a mare and a choice between Birdstone and Medgalia, I know who I'd go with.

16 Jun 2009 1:50 PM
DARLA

THANK YOU STEVE!!!!  POOR OLD COLDFACTS..HE THINKS HIS KNOWLEDGE IS SO WONDERFUL...HIS CUP IS SO FULL...HE WANTS EVERYONE TO THINK HE'S SO KNOWLEDGEABLE. HOWEVER PEOPLE LIKE YOU MAKE THE WORST TEACHERS. NOBODY  WANTS TO LEARN FROM SOMEONE LIKE YOU. YOU NAMED YOURSELF CORRECTLY. YOU ARE VERY "COLD" WITH YOUR FACTS!! YOU CALL BUDDHA, SARAVA, AND VOLPONI LESSER HORSES....THEY WEREN'T LESSER HORSES ON THE DAY THEY WON THESE BIG RACES. THEY BECAME GRADE 1 WINNERS. YOU CAN'T TAKE THOSE COLDFACTS FROM THEM. I ONLY MEANT MDO WAS NO. 1 IN MY BOOK BECAUSE HE'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE HORSES.AND THAT'S THE FACTS!!!!

16 Jun 2009 2:04 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

I went scrambling for my copy of TBH (May 23, 2009 page 1892) and I'm still scratching my head...What are you talking about?

16 Jun 2009 2:21 PM
Matthew W

The story was about the INTERESTING road of Madaglia D' Oro, not about Birdstone! The story stands for itself--Steve you can write about a 2500k plater running at Portland Meadows---cuz there's a storybook story about many horses, great and small, it's always about the story---example: Jim Rome (on his radio show yesterday) talked about his maiden getting a tough beat on Saturday at Hollywood Park ...for one hour, and it was compelling BECAUSE of the storyteller---Steve, as the storyteller, you, and several fellow bloggers, tell the story of racing! No I did not know about Madaglia D' Oro, a magnificient runner and sire, I did not know he trained on a rail-less track in the desert....he went from maiden winner at Oaklawn to easy Gr II winner in San Felipe, and it started on an open spread of dirt in the desert! Thank you as always for your storytelling!

16 Jun 2009 2:38 PM
longtimeracingfan

Steve, yet another great piece with interesting facts and wonderful word pictures of the individuals and events... and MOST timely, as Medaglia D'Oro is just starting his career... MORE!!! MORE!!!  

Coldfacts, you are only partially correct when you state that Birdstone is the ONLY first crop stallion to sire winners of two legs of the Triple Crown. Yes, he sired two DIFFERENT winners of the two legs --- a wonderful achievement. BUT--- there was a horse named GALLANT FOX, foaled 1927, who won the Triple Crown in 1930 and then in his first crop foaled in 1932, sired a horse named OMAHA who --- you guessed it --- won the Triple Crown.

I think we may see some Medaglia D'Oro colts starting to show up in the spotlight before long, they may just take a bit longer to get to the races--- the horse himself did not start until December of his 2-year-old year. And he was around for a while, too. We need solid, tough, durable horses and he's certainly likely to sire a lot of those. I enjoyed watching him race and his babies are going to be fun to watch too.

RE: letting them grow up and be "just horses" seems to work for trainers like Michael Matz, too. And in England it's fun to watch the horses literally hack out through the towns to the gallops. They don't seem to need all the gimmicks on their bridles for control, either... they are well broken and they are mentally more relaxed.

16 Jun 2009 2:47 PM
Soldier Course

Zookeeper:

Thanks for checking the photograph in The Blood-Horse.

A "soldier course" is the top layer ("course") of a stone fence, with the stones stacked vertically. The term comes from the appearance of this row of upright stones, resembling soldiers on the march. In contrast, the lower courses of the stone fence are placed horizontally.  

Can you see it right behind Medaglia d'Oro? The soldier course in the photograph looks like it's in good condition. Many stone fences in the Lexington area have lost all or part of the soldier course over time. Repair or replacement of stone fences is very expensive, and can cost several hundred dollars a cubic foot.  

I learned about stone fences on farm tours during my annual visit to Lexington.

16 Jun 2009 7:47 PM
Jenn

Great story and if there is one line I can completely agree with it's that people are captivated by his magnificent presence.

Hands down!  I visited Darley for the first time last Friday (first time to Kentucky actually) from ON, Canada and WOW!  I was so drawn to him and as I was standing in front of his gate with him leaning over it, I was overwhelmed with how big and THERE he is!  Beautiful animal!  Bernardini was next door to him, but I didn't care.  I'll remember him most from that trip!!

Jenn

16 Jun 2009 9:03 PM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

Thank you so much for clearing that up.

How lucky you are to visit Lexington every year. I was there in 2005 and filled my eyes with the beauty and "greeness" of it all. My hope is to go back soon. There is so much to see and enjoy. So many beautiful farms and horses, so much history, so little time...

16 Jun 2009 9:20 PM
Coldfacts

DARLA, IT APPEARS I HAVE OFFEDED YOU AND FOR THIS YOU HAVE MY SINCERE APOLOGY. YOU MUST REALIZE THAT YOUR ORIGINAL POST DID NOT SPECIFY THAT MEDAGLIA D’ORO WAS #1 IN YOUR BOOK. IF THAT WAS STATED IN YOUR POST, I WOULD HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT IT WAS MORE OF AN EMOTIONAL ASSESSMENT THAN A FACTUAL ONE. MY RESPONSE WOULD HAVE BEEN TOTALLY DIFFERENT AS I WOULD RESPECT YOUR RIGHT TO AN EMOTIONALLY DRIVEN ASSESSMENT OF THE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THOROUGHBREDS. I WAS OF THE OPINION THAT YOUR ASSESSMENT WAS BASED ON HIS RECORD. LET ME BE CLEAR, MEDAGLIA D’ORO WAS A TOP CLASS PERFORMER WHO WON HIS FAIR SHARE OF G1 RACES. HOWEVER, HIS RECORD REFLECTS THAT HE WAS BEATEN IN THE MAJORITY OF THE REALY BIG RACES. CONSEQUENTLY, I DO NOT CONCUR THAT HE WAS #1 ON THE TRACK. I  BASED MY CONCLUSION NOT ON EMOTIONS BUT THE COLD FACTS CONTAINED IN HIS RECORD. I CAN IN NO WAY CHALLENGE HIS CLASSIFICATION IN YOUR BOOK.

ON THE SUBJECT OF LESSER HORSES, I PROBABLY SHOULD NOT HAVE USED THAT TERM AS LESSER FANCIED HORSES WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE. BUDDHA WAS VERY PROMISING BASED ON HIS ALLOWANCE WIN PRECEDING THE WOOD MEMORIAL. MEDAGLIA D’ORO WAS 2-1 IN THE BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC COMPARED TO THE LESSER FANCIED VALPONI WHO WAS 43-1. SARAVA, WAS 71-1 WHEN HE DEFEATED MEDAGLIA D’ORO IN THE BELMONT. THESE MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN LESSER HORSES BUT THEY WERE NOT AS ACCOMPLISHED AS MEDAGLIA D’ORO.

AS FOR YOUR NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOU ME, I TAKE NO OFFENSE AS I THINK WERE ALL REACT TO PERCEIVED OFFENCE DIFFERENTLY. MY INTENTION WAS NEVER TO OFFEND. ONE LOVE!

16 Jun 2009 10:56 PM
Coldfacts

Steve you have my sincere apology. I was in no way implying that Medaglia D’oro is not a deserving candidate for your article because he does not compare with Birdstone. I clearly need to improve my writing skills. I was actually implying that what appears to be the emergence of a classic winning dynasty has gone unnoticed. Derby winner Unbridled, his son Grindstone, his grandson Birestone via Grindstone, his two great grandsons via Birdstone have won a leg of the TC. This is a history making occurrence. There is the possibility of that the sequence could be extended if Summer Bird makes it to the breeding shed. In my humble opinion this is the most significant occurrence over the TC series. There is no doubt that I am clearly ahead of myself to imply that you should favor one story over the other and for this you again have my sincere apology. NB: This is why I am flipping burgers.

Do you think Unbridled’s emerging classic winning dynasty & Birdstone achievement as a first crop sire merit one of your classic articles?

16 Jun 2009 10:58 PM
Soldier Course

Zookeeper:

It's impossible to describe the beauty of Lexington. For those of us who love Thoroughbreds, its restorative powers are a wonder. Everything leaves its mark - from the magnificence of Keeneland and the farms to the mundane joys of Ale-8-One, the local gingerale.

17 Jun 2009 7:56 AM
mary

When a stallion is referred to as a filly sire does that mean sire of good race fillies or good broodmares? If it means both then Medaglia d'Oro's fillies should be in high demand at the sales and his unraced ones will be sought after as broodmares.

What other stallions would fall into this category? Secretariat, Sir Ivor...

17 Jun 2009 1:04 PM
Bonnie Rowntree

Great article about a very beautiful and deserving stallion. I love the part about his humble beginnings. We have a small farm in the middle of nowhere, with a small track and a couple of very good riders.  Not a fancy facility, but excellent horseman who make all the difference.  It's nice to see that some people can look beyond the fancy for the function.

Bonnie

17 Jun 2009 1:25 PM
bay latte

For Darla if you can get my email address from the bloodhorse I will send you some pictures of Medaglia. For MLS his potential was realized early as he is the first in 30 years of breeding that the breeders neve gilded .for coldfacts.As I recall Candy Ride never ran again after he met  Medaglia in the Pacific Classic  nor did Budda after he met Medaglia in the Wood  and I do not recall that Sarava or Volponi ever won again after they met Medaglia  however  Medaglia kept on running and winning  now that is just  puzzling  there is a riddle here for all. break the code in the display name and you will know the writer of this message    Bay

Latte  

24 Jun 2009 12:26 PM
DARLA

WELL BAY LATTE....I'M GUESSING THAT YOU ARE THE ORIGINAL OWNERS/BREEDERS OF MEDAGLIA....CONSIDERING HIS MOM'S NAME IS CAPPACHINO BAY!!!! WOW!!! I HOPE MY GUESS IS RIGHT!!

25 Jun 2009 2:23 PM
bay latte

Darla you are perseptive  and could be correct

25 Jun 2009 10:31 PM
bay latte

coldfacts  you seem to really  know your facts quite well so you must know how many of the all time great horses have ran and either won or lost at the graveyard of champions . of all those  greats how many if any are there that have won the Jim Dandy the Travers and the Whitney and who are they?

25 Jun 2009 11:37 PM
Coldfacts

MEDAGLIA won all three races for a unique record. However, I do not understand the point you’re trying to make. Bernardini won two of the three pulling a bus and did not start in Whitney. I can list a number of unique records established by several thoroughbreds. In spite of these records, some were not number one on the track. Although MEDAGLIA is the only horse to win all three races, it did not make him number one on the track.

MEDAGLIA was good on the track but not great. He has produced a great filly from his second crop and deserves all the credits cited in Steve’s article. I am in no way trying to discredit his achievements but I just think to classify him as number one on the track is a bit of a stretch.

“As I recall Candy Ride never ran again after he met  Medaglia in the Pacific Classic  nor did Budda after he met Medaglia in the Wood  and I do not recall that Sarava or Volponi ever won again after they met Medaglia “

Should I assume you are implying that all four horses cited in your quote above suffered irreparable damage after defeating Medaglia? Buddha (Unbridleds Song) got injured the week of the derby. A similar fate suffered by A.P. Indy and recently I Want Revenge. Candy Ride had soundness issues long before he meet Medaglia. Modern day thoroughbreds are very fragile and any race could be the last one they win irrespective of the competition.

27 Jun 2009 10:41 AM
Port Stanley

Just an FYI for Coldfacts. Rachel Alexandra is from Medaglia d'Oro's first crop.

27 Jun 2009 2:36 PM
Coldfacts

You are correct. Many thanks for the correction.

27 Jun 2009 8:12 PM
bay latte

Coldfacts Perhaps some of my comments were misleading  I will not claim that Medaglia was

# 1 at  the track he did however have great speed  soundness and longivity and true class and was one of the three nominated for the eclipse award only to loose the political battle to an very good race horse that turned out to be a fairly  common sire  . My point about Candy Ride, Budda, Volponi ,and Sarava is that they obviously ran their career  race in defeating Medaglia however while doing so  Medaglia pushed them to the point of no return. His record at Saratoga I beleive is quite significant  in as much as he is the omly one to accomplish that feat in  one hundred and thirty some years of Saratoga racing and there were grade 1 horse  in those three  races

29 Jun 2009 9:37 PM
Fire Slam

Think god he was saved from the barn of Dave Vance!

09 Sep 2009 7:55 AM

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