Edmund A. Gann's heavily favored Medaglia d'Oro and jockey Jerry Bailey assumed control coming out of the gate and pulled away in the stretch to score an easy victory in Saturday's $500,00 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) for older horses.
Off at 1-9 in the field of five, the 4-year-old son of El Prado is trained by Bobby Frankel.
Slider and jockey Carlos H. Marquez, Jr. tracked Medaglia d'Oro by a less than a length into the stretch but the Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner pulled away to win by three lengths. Slider held off Kudos, the defending champion, by a nose for second. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn was 1:47 3/5.
Bailey got away with moderate fractions of :23 3/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 and had plenty left when Medaglia d'Oro and Slider hit the stretch. Bailey urged the winner home without much pressure as Slider gave up the chase. Kudos, with Alex Solis in the irons, was last into the final turn about eight lengths off the pace, but could not make up enough ground to make it a contest.
``He usually wants to pull away from the rest as he comes around the final turn, but today he waited for me to ask him for his best,'' Bailey said.
Frankel pulled Medaglia d'Oro from the $6 million Dubai World Cup at the end of March because he wasn't satisfied with his horse's workouts. In February, he pulled him out of the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap because he was unhappy with a 124-pound weight assignment.
Medaglia d'Oro had no problem carrying 122 pounds Saturday.
``The race developed just about the way I figured it would, with us in the lead,'' Bailey said. ``The pace felt honest, and he wasn't at all bothered by the pressure around him.''
The victory was the fourth graded stakes win in the last five outings for Medaglia d'Oro, who has won twice this year since a second-place finish behind Volponi in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on Feb. 1. Medaglia d'Oro won for second time in two starts at Oaklawn, where he broke his maiden in his debut on Feb. 9, 2002. Saturday's triumph, worth $300,000, pushed his career earnings to more than $2.8 million.
Albert and Joyce Bell bred Medaglia d'Oro in Kentucky.
The winner paid $2.20, $2.20 and $2.20. Slider returned $3.80 and $2.20. Kudos' show price was $2.20. The $2 exacta was worth $15.60.