05/01/2010 12:00AM

Medaglia d'Amour wins Wilshire Handicap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Medaglia d'Amour has gone from a maiden winner to a graded stakes winner in three months this year.

Making her stakes debut in Saturday's at Hollywood Park, Medaglia d'Amour had an ideal trip under jockey Alonzo Quinonez in a performance that bettors predicted. Medaglia d'Amour was the 3-1 second choice despite being listed at 15-1 on the morning line.

In the Grade 3 Wilshire, Medaglia d'Amour was always near the front, stalking pacesetter Czechers for the first six furlongs through early fractions of 24.12 and 47.25 seconds before taking the lead with a two-wide move in early stretch.

Medaglia d'Amour led by a head at the eighth pole and held off 2-1 favorite Cat by the Tale to win by 1 1/4 lengths, finishing a mile on turf in 1:34.31. You Lift Me Up finished third, a head in front of Czechers in the field of 10.

Winning trainer Ben Cecil said he had little doubt that Medgalia d'Amour could handle the jump in class from an allowance race to the graded stakes.

"It was only her fourth start, and we were throwing her a bit to the wolves, but I thought she was so impressive in the allowance," he said.

Owned by Zillah Reddam, the wife of prominent owner Paul Reddam, and Kristy Cecil, trainer Ben Cecil's wife, Medgalia d'Amour has won 3 of 4 starts and $112,200. She finished eighth in a maiden race at Del Mar last summer, but is unbeaten in three starts this year - a maiden race at Santa Anita in February and an allowance race there on March 14.

Medaglia d'Amour, 4, will be considered for the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf here on May 29, Ben Cecil said.