Some Gold For The Colts

We’re very used to two-year-old descendents of Sadler’s Wells showing their classic credentials in major races towards the end of the European racing season. For example, Sadler’s Wells’ son, Montjeu, has recently been represented by St. Nicholas Abbey, Jan Vermeer and Joshua Tree, winners respectively of the Racing Post Tropy (gr. I), Criterium International (gr. I) and Royal Lodge Stakes (gr. II). With that in mind it doesn't come as any great surprise to learn that Passion for Gold, who romped home six lengths clear in Europe’s final juvenile group I of the season, the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (gr. I), is a Sadler’s Wells descendent (as are the second and fourth place finishers, Mikhail Glinka and Don Carlos, both sons of Galileo). However, what may been a little less anticipated is that Passion for Gold is not by one of Sadler’s Wells’ European sons, but is instead, by his North American-based grandson, Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO).
This is a fact that has a number of significant implications. There is no doubt that Medaglia d’Oro has made a remarkable start to his stud career, with ten first crop stakes winners, headed Champion elect Rachel Alexandra; grade I winner Gabby’s Golden Gal; and graded winners Payton d’Oro, C. S. Silk, and Al Khali. It’s been well reported that the latter is the only male stakes winner from that first crop and that the first stakes winner from Medaglia d’Oro’s second crop, Dashing Debby, is also a filly. But the weekend rather redressed the balance as far as that crop is concerned: the day after Passion for Gold’s victory, another Medaglia d’Oro son, Self Dealin’ Man, took the Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes over 6½ furlongs on dirt at Philadelphia Park. We can also note that Medaglia d’Oro has another promising European two-year-old colt in Al Zir (half-brother to the grade I winning sprinter Midas Eyes), who finish third in the Racing Post Trophy (gr. I), but is thought of as a work in progress by his connections.  Passion for Gold looks almost certain to get a mile-and-a-half at three, and Al Zir also shapes like a middle-distance runner. If it turns out that Medaglia d’Oro can sire Europe turf classic horses, as well as dirt runners like Rachel Alexandra, it goes without saying that he is going to be a stallion of very serious international importance.
The three Medaglia d’Oro colts that have group or graded form have all achieved that status on turf, and this might not be coincidence. Medaglia d’Oro is quite a tall horse, and Rachel Alexandra is something of an Amazon. We have to wonder if some of the colts are particularly leggy and prefer some time to those legs under them. In Passion for Gold’s case, his dam, C’Est L’Amour, is definitely bred to be on the more compact side as she is by Thunder Gulch – a horse who doesn’t have a lot of leg – out of a mare by Blushing Groom.
C’Est L’Amour’s pedigree might have led one to suspect that she would be a middle-distance turf runner, but in fact she was at her best at around a mile on dirt. She gained a graded win in the  7 furlong Nassau County Stakes (gr. II), and she was beaten only ¾ length by Finder’s Fee in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at a mile. Hitherto, C’Est L’Amour had been less successful as a broodmare, and Passion for Gold, her fifth foal, is her first winner.  C’Est L’Amour is half-sister to the stakes winning Deputy Minister mare, Passion Flower, who in turn produced Del Mar Derby (gr. II) victor Madeo to Mizzen Mast (TrueNicks,SRO). Her dam, L’Amour Toujours, a daughter of Blushing Groom, was a listed winner in France. She is half-sister to Gala Evening (by El Gran Senor’s brother, Try My Best), who is granddam of Queen of Money (winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. III) and runner-up in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), and subsequently a multiple stakes producer). Passion for Gold’s third dam, Paint the Town, is a Vaguely Noble daughter who beat colts in the Grand Prix d’Evry (gr. II), and also took the Prix de Royallieu (gr. III). The fourth dam, Belle De Nuit, is another accomplished filly, her credits including a win in the Test Stakes. A daughter of Warfare, Belle de Nuit owned a fascinating pedigree, as she had the War Glory (three-parts-brother to War Admiral) and his three-parts-sister, Seaplane, 3 x 4 in his pedigree, and also had intense linebreeding to Rock Sand and Fairy Gold, two of the grandparents of Man o’War (sire of War Glory and Seaplane). Medaglia d’Oro’s granddam, Dubbed In, is inbred to a daughter of Eight Thirty (also broodmare sire of Belle de Nuit, and himself inbred to Rock Sand/Fairy Gold). Of course, Medaglia d’Oro’s magnificent daughter, Rachel Alexandra, goes back to a mare inbred to War Relic (another son of Man o’War with a double of Rock Sand/Fairy Gold) and a sister.
Passion for Gold and Rachel Alexandra are also two of the six stakes winners already sired by Medaglia d’Oro out of mares descending from Mr. Prospector, and  Passion for Gold was TrueNicks rated A even prior to his victory.


For more about Passion for Gold's pedigree, see the Mahubah's Corner column Medaglia d'Oro Has a Passion for Gold.

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