Updated on 09/16/2011 8:06AM

Medaglia holds off Repent

Medaglia d'Oro (right) and Repent battle to the wire in Saturday's Travers Stakes over a sloppy track. Their stretch duel helped brighten a day that was darkened by rain.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Medaglia d'Oro overcame the only obstacle his trainer felt he had by handling a sloppy track, then he turned back the late run of Repent to win Saturday's $1 million by a half-length on a raw, rainy day at Saratoga.

Repent, making his first start off a 140-day layoff, ran a strong race to be second, 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Nothing Flat. Like a Hero, Puzzlement, Quest, Gold Dollar, Saint Marden, and Shah Jehan completed the order of finish.

Mother Nature turned the main track into a quagmire and turned Travers Day into a miserable afternoon for the 43,153 fans who attended. All five races scheduled for the turf - including the $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup and the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap - were moved to the main track. Of the 126 horses entered, 39 scratched, and the Ballston Spa was reduced to three runners.

In the days leading up to the Travers, trainer Bobby Frankel said the only thing that scared him was the prospect of an off-track. The rain began falling at 7 a.m. Saturday and the track was sloppy all day.

Under Jerry Bailey, Medaglia d'Oro raced close to the pace, in between Shah Jehan and Saint Marden entering the first turn. Medaglia d'Oro brushed with Repent coming out of the gate, and received cuts on both of his hind legs. Trainer Bobby Frankel said Medaglia d'Oro may have grabbed his quarter.

Straightening away down the backside, Medaglia d'Oro was stalking Shah Jehan, who ran a half-mile under John Velazquez in a strong 46.82 seconds.

At the half-mile pole, Bailey put Medaglia d'Oro into the lead and he came into the stretch with a clear advantage. Repent, who was receiving a ground-saving trip under Edgar Prado set sail after Medaglia d'Oro, but came up just short. Medaglia d'Oro covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.53 and returned $3.50 to win.

"All day long horses that had pressure on them during the early part of the race or the middle part of the race never held up,' said Bailey, who won his third Travers. "So, you got to give this horse a lot of credit for doing what he did.'

Frankel also gave a lot of credit to Repent, who surprised him by running so well off a 15-week layoff.

Ken McPeek, the trainer of Repent, was not surprised his horse ran so well. He was surprised he didn't catch Medgalia d'Oro.

"I thought we owned him at the eighth pole,' McPeek said. "I was surprised that horse held on'

Medaglia d'Oro, who was installed as a 2-5 morning-line favorite, actually went off at 3-5 and returned $3.50 to win. Medaglia d'Oro, owned by Edmund A. Gann, became just the fifth Jim Dandy winner to come back and take the Travers.

* Bettors wagered more than $1.3 million on the all-stakes pick four, which the New York Racing Association had guaranteed the pool to be $1 million. The pick four, which consisted of Surya ($3.70), Capsized ($8.80), Gygistar ($4.90), and Medaglia d'Oro ($3.50) returned $135.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson