Updated on 09/17/2011 9:51AM

Medaglia d'Oro victorious in Strub


ARCADIA, Calif. - The other participants in the nation's handicap division are not going to like what owner Edmund Gann said in the winner's circle after Medaglia d'Oro won the $400,000 on Saturday at Santa Anita.

"We think this year he is a lot more professional horse," Gann said. "This is a big win the way he did it."

Making his first start since having finished second in the $4 million Breeders' Cup lassic at Arlington Park last October, Medaglia d'Oro had little trouble dispatching five rivals in the Grade 2 Strub for 4-year-olds.

Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Medaglia d'Oro quickly took a one-length lead, was allowed to set his own pace - 22.91; 45.96 and 1:09.98 - and stretched a three-length lead at the end of the backstretch to seven lengths at the finish. Medaglia d'Oro ($2.80) ran 1 1-8 miles in 1:48.04.

"You never expect something like that - to run in nine and change," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "It seems when he gets an easy lead it's impossible to catch him. Once he made the lead like that, I felt pretty good."

Castle Gandolfo and Tracemark were second and third behind Medaglia d'Oro in the first half of the race, but never threatened the winner.

Castle Gandolfo faded from contention on the final turn and was later reported to have run down through his hind bandages.

In the final furlong, as Medaglia d'Oro pulled away, Olmodavor rallied from fifth along the rail to finish second, a half-length in front of Tracemark.

Easy Grades, who finished 13th in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, finished fourth, followed by Pass Rush and Castle Gandolfo.

Medaglia d'Oro ran in all three legs of the 2002 Triple Crown, finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, eighth in the Preakness and second in the Belmont Stakes. He later won the Jim Dandy Stakes and Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

"To go through the Triple Crown, the races he went through and to still be around, he's a good horse," Frankel said.

The Strub marked the stakes debut of Olmodavor, who will be considered for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. Medaglia d'Oro will be pointed for the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 29.

The runner-up finish by Olmodavor impressed trainer Richard Mandella.

"He fought down inside and battled like he'd done it before," Mandella said.

"The winner was super today."