Medaglia d'Oro Links Debutante, Futurity Winners
Although he was an outstanding racehorse, and has been an extremely important and successful sire, one doesn't really associate Medaglia d'Oro with speedy and precocious juveniles. Indeed, only six of his 26 grade 1 winners have scored at that age, most notably champion 2-Year-Old Filly Songbird; Vancouver (AUS), champion at 2 in Australia; and Passion For Gold, high-weighted colt in France at 2. That being so, it comes as something of a surprise that Medaglia d'Oro is the nexus connecting a pair of exciting juveniles who scored in California at the weekend, Tamara, successful in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1), and the Del Mar Futurity (G1) victor Prince of Monaco. The Del Mar Debutante, which saw Tamara 6 3/4 lengths clear at the wire, was only the filly's second outing, having overcome a stumble at the start to take her Aug. 19 debut over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar by 2 3/4 lengths. Tamara is a daughter of Bolt d'Oro, a horse who would count as Medaglia d'Oro's highest-profile North American juvenile colt. He won three of four starts at 2, including the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner Stakes (G1), and took third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). At 3 he added a win in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and a second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), in a result that is still being litigated. The Leading Freshman Sire of 2022, Bolt d'Oro has eight first-crop stakes winners, including grade 2 and three-time graded stakes winner Major Dude; Instant Coffee, successful in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and Lecomte Stakes (G3); and the Jersey Derby (G3) scorer Boppy O. Tamara is his first stakes winner from his second crop. Tamara already had a significant following before she stepped foot on the racetrack. That's because she is a daughter of the history-making Hall of Fame mare Beholder. The only horse in the span of nearly 50 years to capture a grade 1 race at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 years of age, Beholder was an Eclipse Award champion at 2, 3, 5, and 6. Although she captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), one of them an unforgettable duel with Songbird, her best performance was a stunning victory over males in the Pacific Classic (G1), which she took by 8 1/4 lengths in just 0.66 of a second outside the track and race record established by Candy Ride (ARG) (coincidentally in a race where Medaglia d'Oro was runner-up). Tamara is the second graded winner produced by Beholder, as her daughter Teena Ella took the Senorita Stakes (G3) back in May. Beholder is also dam of a Curlin yearling that realized $4 million at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sales. By Henny Hughes out of Broodmare of the Year Leslie's Lady, Beholder is half sister to Into Mischief, who has carried off the last four Leading Sires titles and who holds a near $6,000,000 lead on the 2023 table. She is also half-sister to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and UAE Derby (G2) captor Mendelssohn. It's possible that Tamara is bred on an emerging nick, as she and Boppy O represent two graded stakes winners from only seven foals by Bolt d'Oro from Hennessy line mares. The Del Mar Futurity was the third win in as many starts for Prince of Monaco. He wasn't pressed to score by eight lengths over five furlongs on his debut, and then had 4 1/4 lengths to spare over his highly rated stable companion Muth in the Best Pal Stakes (G3). Prince of Monaco is by Speightstown, a son of Gone West and Storm Cat's champion Canadian 2-year-old filly Silken Cat. Speightstown ran once at 2, but a series of injuries, including a shoulder fracture, saw him make only nine starts over the next three seasons, and it wasn't until he was a 6-year-old that his true ability was revealed. That term, Speightstown earned an Eclipse Award as champion Sprinter, winning five of six starts, including the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), Churchill Downs Handicap (G2), True North Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2), and Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G2). Speightstown retired to stud in 2005, the same year as Medaglia d'Oro, and given his speed and fast, precocious pedigree, one would have expected him to be a far more prolific sire of juvenile stakes winners than Medaglia d'Oro. That hasn't been the case, however, and from 16 crops, he has only been represented by seven juvenile group or graded stakes winners, just three grade 1. Only two of those juvenile stakes winners earned that status in the United States, and Prince of Monaco, conceived when Speightstown was 23 years old, is his sole 2-year-old graded winner on the dirt. Prince of Monaco's dam, Rainier (named for the ruling dynasty of Monaco), is an unraced half-sister to two fast horses in the Hot Springs and Bachelor Stakes winner Laurie's Rocket, and to the Crank it Up Stakes scorer Greeley's Rocket (by Mr. Greeley, like Speightstown a son of Gone West). She's also half-sister to the dam of Necker Island, a multiple stakes winner who is closing in on earnings of nearly $1 million. The second dam, Clay's Rocket, was a stakes-placed sprinter and is a half-sister to Adieu (by El Corredor, a grandson of Gone West), whose three graded-stakes successes include the Frizette (G1). She's also half-sister to Direct Line, winner of the Gardenia Handicap (G3), to Victory Ride Stakes (G3) captress Rapport, and to the dam of Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) winner Cavalry Charge. The fourth dam, Classy Irene, was also a multiple stakes winning sprinter/miler. The cross of Speightstown with mares by Medaglia d'Oro has a truly remarkable strike rate with nine stakes winners from 41 starters (22% stakes winners to starters), including other grade 1 winners Olympiad, Rock Fall, and Competitionofideas. A significant amount of the success must be down to a physical affinity, but from a pedigree standpoint we can observe that Speightstown is inbred to Secretariat, once through Storm Cat, a Northern Dancer/Secretariat cross, where Medaglia d'Oro's sire, El Prado, is a Northern Dancer/Sir Gaylord (half-brother to Northern Dancer) cross. Prince of Monaco's dam also carries Cure the Blues, who is by a grandson of Sir Gaylord's sire Turn-to, out of a mare whose dam is half sister to Somethingroyal, the dam of Sir Gaylord, and three-quarter sister to Secretariat.