01/22/2008 1:00AM

Medaglia d'Oro offers a diverse crop


LAS VEGAS - Among this group of freshman stallions is Medaglia d'Oro, one of the best racehorses of his generation. At 3, he won the Travers and Jim Dandy stakes, and finished second in the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic (to the older Volponi). He won major events at 4 and 5, including the Whitney, Oaklawn, and Donn handicaps, as well as the Strub Stakes. He also finished second behind Pleasantly Perfect in both the Breeders' Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup. His first crop of babies sold very well at sales around the country, averaging $116,740 - nearly three times his $40,000 stud fee - and his large first crop (148 foals) is from a very diverse group of mares. The foals include an unnamed half-sister to Spun Sugar and Daaher (out of Irish Cherry); an unnamed colt out of a half-sister to Artie Schiller; an unnamed colt out of a half-sister to Key to the Mint and Fort Marcy; and Cassidy's Pride, a filly out of stakes winner Cassidy, who descends directly from the great broodmare Grey Flight.

Lion Heart (Tale of the Cat-Satin Sunrise, by Mr. Leader). Winner of all three of his starts at 2, including the Hollywood Futurity and Hollywood Prevue, he was able to carry his speed to middle distances, winning the Haskell Invitational Handicap and finishing second to Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby over a sloppy, speed-favoring surface. His offspring should have natural speed, as dictated by his sire line, but getting distances over nine furlongs will greatly depend on the damsire. Keep in mind that Lion Heart is an example of the hidden turf sire: While he achieved success on dirt, he is by a son of Storm Cat and his damsire, Mr. Leader, was a superior grass horse.

Marino Marini (Storm Cat-Halo America, by Waquoit). Marino Marini was a good juvenile, placing in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, as well as the Group 3 Ballyogan, Norfolk and Gladness stakes. Imported to this country late in his 3-year-old year, he ran second to Southern Image in the Malibu Stakes and then placed in the Palos Verdes and Los Angeles Times handicaps and Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes. I expect him to be among the best of the California-based freshman sires because his 2-year-olds should show high speed on dirt and turf.

Medaglia d'Oro (El Prado-Cappucino Bay, by Bailjumper). His offspring should be best at 3 and older, when they have a chance to mature and stretch out in distance. But many of his juveniles who are out of mares by speed influences - such as Mr. Prospector, Capote, and Valid Appeal - could develop at 2. El Prado's offspring have been very successful on dirt and turf and Medaglia d'Oro's damsire, Bailjumper, was a strong grass influence.

Mister Phone (Speakerphone-Miss Newgate, by Mari's Book). A grandson of Fappiano and out of a female family that produced a two-time Horse of the Year, Cigar, Mister Phone was a champion sprinter at 5 in Argentina, and his second dam was a 2-year-old filly champion in Argentina. Expect his babies to have high speed.

Momentum (Nureyev-Imprudent Love, by Foolish Pleasure). A stakes winner on grass in Europe, Momentum was one of just a handful of sons of Nureyev who won a major stakes on dirt. Winner of the Native Diver Handicap, he was second to Came Home in the Pacific Classic Stakes, and also was second to Sky Jack in the Hollywood Gold Cup. His second dam is a half-sister to the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand. Artie Schiller and Marcavelly descend from this female line. Runners by this California-based stallion should perform well on synthetic surfaces and be very effective on turf.

Mr. Livingston (El Prado-Vienna Knickers, by Noble Saint). Like the majority of runners by El Prado, Mr. Livingston was versatile, having own stakes on dirt and turf. He won at least one stakes every year from age 3 through 7. His offspring should be particularly successful on grass up to nine furlongs.

Newfoundland (Storm Cat-Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister). Winner of three stakes from 27 starts, he was second to Funny Cide in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and to Peace Rules in the Suburban Handicap and third in both the Gulfstream Park and Brooklyn handicaps. His dam was a three-time Grade 1 winner, and this female family produced a Japanese champion, To the Victory, as well as Dream Deal, Dream Scheme, and a Belmont Stakes winner, Creme Fraiche. Because of his Northern Dancer sire line, Newfoundland's runners should be equally effective on dirt and turf.