02/08/2016 12:20PM

Medaglia d'Oro posts big results in Saturday stakes

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Emily Shields
Songbird (red cap) wins her fifth straight race in the Las Virgenes Stakes on Saturday.

Prominent young sire Medaglia d’Oro enjoyed an outstanding weekend on the racetrack, with champion daughter Songbird picking up right where she left off in her 2016 debut in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, and Mshawish and Valid sweeping the exacta in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Songbird led at every point of call in the Las Virgenes, cruising to victory by 6 1/2 lengths while geared down in the lane. She has won all five of her starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, by a combined 28 1/2 lengths.

The filly is the best 3-year-old of either sex this year for Medaglia d’Oro, who has three sons currently nominated to the Triple Crown – Stradivari, a debut winner in December but missing from the work tab since, and unstarted Forever d’Oro and Hatter. Following the Las Virgenes, owner Rick Porter reiterated that Songbird will not start against males this spring.

Medaglia d’Oro is already the sire of two Kentucky Oaks winners, represented by 2009 victor and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Plum Pretty two years later.

On the opposite side of the country, the versatile Mshawish kicked clear of the gritty Valid in the Donn to complete Medaglia d’Oro’s big day. It was the second career Grade 1 victory for the globe-trotting Mshawish, who won the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap last year. He was third in last year’s Dubai Turf. The horse is undefeated on dirt this year, winning the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes prior to the Donn.

“He has a dirt pedigree,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Some of the Medaglias go turf and dirt, and he’s out of a Thunder Gulch mare, so the pedigree was there and he had trained like it was possible. We knew he was doing well and just figured we’d see what happened.”

Medaglia d’Oro, based at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., has been a top 20 general sire in North America each year since 2009. He finished second to two-time reigning leading sire Tapit on the list last year. He had 88 career stakes winners through Saturday.