Medaglia d'Amour made her stakes debut a winning effort when she edged clear in deep stretch to capture the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths over favored Cat by the Tale on the Hollywood Park turf May 1.
With Alonso Quinonez aboard, the 4-year-old Medaglia d'Amour registered her third consecutive win in the one-mile Wilshire for fillies and mares. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro tangled with pacesetter Czechers from the quarter pole, getting a head in front with a furlong to run under left-handed urging,
Medaglia d'Amour inched away from the tiring Czechers as Cat by the Tale and You Lift Me Up charged home late to fill the place spots. Cat by the Tale, the 2-1 choice ridden by Tyler Baze, nosed You Lift Me Up and Russell Baze for the runner-up spot, with Czechers a head back in fourth. The final time was 1:34.31 over a firm turf.
"She's awesome, something very special," said Quinonez after collecting his first graded stakes win at Hollywood Park. "They were going slow, so I attacked them early. When she made the lead she was going pretty easy. I asked her to go and she was all business."
Czechers pulled early and set moderate fractions of :24.12, :47.25 and 1:10.63 but could not handle the winner, who stalked in second at every call, in the lane.
Trained by Ben Cecil for owners Kristina Cecil and Zillah Reddam, Medaglia d'Amour has started just four times in her career and hasn't lost since running eighth in her debut on Del Mar's Polytrack last summer. She has won her subsequent starts on turf, most recently capturing a first-level allowance going one mile at Santa Anita in 1:33 4/5 March 14.
"Most of her pedigree is grass, so we knew stretching her out and putting her on the grass was going to be the way to go with her," Cecil said. "She'll do whatever you want, she's a very easy filly to ride. She won't have a problem getting a mile and a quarter down the road."
Medaglia d'Amour earned $60,000 for the Wilshire win and has now banked $116,200.
Allen E. Paulson Living Trust bred Medaglia d'Amour in Kentucky. Out of the Blushing John mare Izara, the dark bay or brown filly sold for $3,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2007.
Sent off as the second choice in the 10-horse field, Medaglia d'Amour carried 114 pounds and paid $8.40, $4.20 and $3.20. Grade II winner Cat by the Tale, coming off a runner-up finish to Tuscan Evening in the Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) for trainer Neil Drysdale, returned $3.20 and $2.60 while spotting the winner four pounds. You Lift Me Up ended a two-race win streak and was $4.60 to show.
Czechers was followed by Princess Haya, Sweeter Still, Exquisite, Dextera, April Pride and Toque de Queda.