Although Medaglia d'Oro was the wise guy horse in the Preakness, getting bet down to 3-1, most people have forgotten about him for the Belmont following his eighth-place finish at Pimlico. That is until his impressive 5-furlong work 1:00 2/5 at Belmont Park Saturday.
The powerful son of El Prado worked with jockey Richie Migliore aboard, going off a quarter in :24 4/5 and a half in :48 3/5. He then came home his final eighth in :11 4/5 and galloped out another furlong in a strong :12 4/5. After his 1:13 1/5 gallop-out time, he pulled up the seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5.
"He finished up much better than his work before the Preakness," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "Richie did a perfect job. That was exactly what I wanted."
Migliore, who will ride Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner in the Belmont, was impressed with Medaglia d'Oro's work. "He finished real strong," he said. "I was impressed with the fact that he went through the Derby and Preakness and seems like he's still carrying a lot of flesh."
Frankel, whose Preakness rider Jerry Bailey jumped to Essence of Dubai for the Belmont, said he won't name a jockey for Medaglia d'Oro until entry day next Wednesday. "I just want a rider who will ride him the way I want," he said. The two jockeys Frankel mentioned as possibilities are Kent Desormeaux and Pat Valenzuela.
At the Trackside training center near Churchill Downs, Perfect Drift worked his five furlongs in 1:00 1/5, the fastest of six works at the distance. With regualr exercise rider Joe Deegan aboard, the son of Dynaformer went in fractions of :12 4/5, :24 4/5, and :37 1/5 before flying home his final quarter in :23 flat and final eighth in :11 2/5. He galloped out his six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.
"Everything went perfect," said Johnson. "He came home well in the last eighth and galloped out good. He's a picture of health. He'll have a strong gallop on Tuesday and we'll board the plane on Wednesday."
Johnson said he's glad he skipped the Preakness and waited for the Belmont. "It couldn't have been better," he said. "If we get one more week under our belt, we'll be in great shape. I think we fit right in the thick of things. Every race has been better than the one before and we're looking to go up another notch."
Essence of Dubai will work next Tuesday or Wednesday, assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said. "It'll just be routine work," he said. "He'll probably go five-eighths."
War Emblem galloped a mile and half this morning under Mick Jenner. The Derby and Preakness winner will work on Tuesday and fly to New York on Wednesday with Perfect Drift and Proud Citizen.