03/15/2003 1:00AM

Medaglia d'Oro staying home


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It seemed like trainer Bobby Frankel was looking for a reason not to send Medaglia d'Oro to Dubai for the $6 million Dubai World Cup. On Saturday morning, just hours before the horse was to ship, Frankel found one.

Medaglia d'Oro did not come out of a Friday workout at Hollywood Park as well as Frankel would have liked and therefore will not run in the Dubai World Cup on March 29 at Nad Al Sheba Race Course.

"He didn't eat up last night, and that's not like him," Frankel said Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, where he was to saddle Empire Maker in the $1 million Florida Derby. "There's a virus going through my barn and a lot of my horses got sick. The blood looks good, but there's stress in shipping."

Though Frankel had voiced concerns about shipping to Dubai with the possibility of war in the region, he was all set to go Friday after Medaglia d'Oro worked seven furlongs in 1:26.80. Now, provided Medaglia d'Oro does not get sick, he will be pointed to the $500,000 Oaklawn Park Handicap on April 5.

Medaglia d'Oro's defection leaves Harlan's Holiday the lone North American representative in the World Cup. He left Saturday.

Medaglia d'Oro has run only once this year, winning the Strub Stakes by seven lengths on Feb. 1. He was not entered in the Santa Anita Handicap because Frankel was displeased with the weights.

At 3, Medaglia d'Oro won the Travers, Jim Dandy, San Felipe and was second as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic.