INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 1, 2010)-Medaglia d’Amour made a successful transition into graded stakes company with a victory in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Well positioned close to the lead by jockey Alonso Quinonez, the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly out of the Blushing John mare Izara wrested the advantage from pace setter Czechers with about an eighth of a mile to run and went on to the victory despite drifting out some nearing the wire.
Now undefeated in three races on turf, the 3-1 second choice in the Grade III ran the mile in 1:34.31 while winning by 1 ¼ lengths over 2-1 favorite Cat By The Tale.
Owned by Kristina Cecil, the wife of trainer Ben Cecil, and Zillah Reddam, Medaglia d’Amour has won three of four lifetime. She increased her earnings to $116,200.
Bred in Kentucky by the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust, Medaglia d’Amour paid $8.40, $4.20 and $3.20.“She’s awesome, something very special,’’ said Quinonez, after his first graded stakes win at Hollywood Park. “My instructions were to lay right behind the speed. They were going pretty slow, so I attacked early. When she made the lead, she was going pretty easy.
“I asked her to go and she was all business. I worked her last time and she went very nice, so I knew she was ready for this race.’’
Ben Cecil had pondered running Medaglia d’Amour in the longer Santa Barbara Handicap, a Grade II at 1 ¼ miles on turf, the penultimate day of Santa Anita on April 17, but a minor issue halted those plans.
“Her feet were a little warm,’’ said Cecil, who also won the 2002 Wilshire with Eurolink Raindance. “This was the first race I had targeted, but when the Santa Barbara was coming up light, we thought we might take a look and go in there. The feet made the decision.
“Most of her pedigree is grass, so we knew stretching her out and putting her on grass was going to be the way to go with her. She will do whatever you want. She’s a very easy filly to ride.’’
Cat By The Tale, who finished a nose in front of 7-1 shot You Lift Me Up, paid $3.20 and $2.60. A California bred seeking her third consecutive win for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Russell Baze, You Lift Me Up paid $4.60 to show.
Although he had to settle for second in the Wilshire, Tyler Baze picked up three more wins on Saturday. He now has 14 through seven days, putting him nine clear of his closest pursuers in the jockey standings.
Hollywood Park will wrap up the second week of the meet when racing resumes on Sunday. Post time for the nine race program is 1 p.m.
The main event is the $100,000 Senorita Stakes. A Grade III for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, the Senorita is headed by 2-1 morning line favorite City To City.
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