01/19/2018 11:43AM

Medaglia d'Oro records seven Grade 1 winners in 2017

Shigeki Kikkawa
Multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d'Oro is one of five Eclipse Award finalists for sire Medaglia d'Oro.

Medaglia d’Oro is coming off a career year in 2017. That’s saying something, since the Darley stallion’s résumé already featured Hall of Fame racemare Rachel Alexandra, two-time Eclipse Award champion Songbird, and Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty.

Medaglia d’Oro led all stallions in North America with seven individual Grade 1 winners in 2017, including a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners, with five of those becoming Eclipse Award finalists. He joins Danzig, Mr. Prospector, and Storm Cat as the only American stallions to sire a septet of top-level winners in a calendar year.

Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold (a finalist for the Eclipse Award outstanding female sprinter) and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic (turf male) put the exclamation points on their sire’s outstanding year, showchasing his versatility at the same time.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro (2-year-old male) finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a wide trip, while Alabama and Beldame heroine Elate (3-year-old female) was a creditable fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Songbird (older dirt female) returned to be a multiple Grade 1 winner in 2017 before her retirement.

Medaglia d’Oro’s other Grade 1 winners on the season were Dickinson and New Money Honey. Overall, the stallion had five individual runners record Beyer Speed Figures of 100 or higher, placing him in the top 10 in the Beyer Sire Performance Standings by that metric. Thirteen percent of his runners surpassed the 90 Beyer threshold.

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Off his strong season, Medaglia d’Oro appears poised for a strong 2018, with Bolt d’Oro considered among the top prospects for the spring classics.

“From watching films, I knew the Medaglia d’Oros had the cruising speed Bolt d’Oro’s shown, and that’s what we want to build on,” said Mick Ruis, Bolt d’Oro’s owner and trainer.

In addition to Bolt d’Oro, Medaglia d’Oro is represented by 3-year-olds Enticed, a homebred for the Godolphin/Darley operation who won last fall’s Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, and runaway maiden winner Montauk.

Following the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Godolphin representative Jimmy Bell said of Enticed, “We’re really optimistic about his future.”

Medaglia d’Oro will stand for an advertised fee of $250,000 in 2018, tying him as the second-most-expensive stallion in the country. His book already includes Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, dam of Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled and Grade 1 winner Unbridled Forever.

Other stallions with multiple Eclipse Award finalists are More Than Ready, Quality Road, and the late Unbridled’s Song, with two each.

Quality Road's representatives are Kentucky Oaks heroine Abel Tasman, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff; and Caledonia Road, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Those two high-end performers helped place their sire eighth among active stallions on the general sires earnings list – the highest finish yet for Lane's End's leading freshman sire of 2014. Keyed by the consistent Abel Tasman, who won two other Grade 1 events in addition to the Oaks, Quality Road’s 3-year-olds also put him atop the Beyer Sire Performance Standings for the age group, with 22 Beyers to meet or surpass the benchmark figure of 90. The stallion had another promising sophomore emerge late in the year in City of Light, who posted a 102 winning the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes.

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