Medaglia d'Oro Ready for Wood

From Aqueduct:

The horse is named for a brand of espresso coffee, and in his last
start, he woke up as if he had swallowed a double shot of the stuff.
Saturday afternoon, Medaglia d'Oro will try to keep his Triple Crown
hopes brewing when he steps onto Aqueduct's main track for the 78th running of the grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial.

Former trainer Mark Reid gets the credit for discovering Medaglia d'Oro and contacting Bobby Frankel about the El Prado colt. Frankel was more than willing to listen; Reid, after all, had discovered grade 1-winning filly You for Frankel.

Medaglia d'Oro was purchased for an undisclosed amount for owner Edmund Gann. Frankel only had the horse for three and a half weeks, when Medaglia d'Or stepped up to win the grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita.

"I was very surprised by San Felipe," Frankel said. "They ran by him like that, and I thought he was dead. I was shocked when he came on again."

What was also impressive was that Medaglia d'Oro had only had a pair of six-furlong races before the San Felipe.

"I think horses that can get a distance don't need much practice," Frankel said. "He's just a very good horse, and might have just had the quality to do it. I only had him for three and a half weeks, so I didn't do too much."

Always confident, Frankel plans to send Medaglia d'Oro to New York tomorrow, along with Shibboleth, who will run in the Carter Handicap. Frankel believes Medaglia d'Oro will be favored in the Wood Memorial and also believes he is ready for the task.

"At the beginning, this horse was real docile,' Frankel said. "But in the last few days, he's been tough to handle. The other day he tried to buck off the exercise rider. I don't know if it's good or bad, but he's getting tough to handle.

"I thought about running him in the Blue Grass, but I love New York. I'm grateful to the people in New York. They take good care of me in New York in the racing office and I try to help them as much as possible."

Gary and Mary West's Buddha, victorious in two of three career starts arrived in New York for his engagement in Saturday's Wood. Buddha will try to become the third horse in as many years to win the Derby after racing in the Wood Memorial.

"He is lightly raced, but Fusaichi Pegasus was lightly raced and he
won the Wood Memorial and Derby," said trainer H. James Bond, referring to the 2000 Wood Memorial winner who had one more race than Buddha heading into the final Derby prep. "Every horse is different and I think what matters more is how they are mentally. So far, it looks like he's got the game down pat."

Buddha has been ridden by Edgar Prado in both victories this year.
On February 9th, Prado guided Buddha to a maiden win and again
five weeks later when the Unbridled's Song colt drew off impressively to best allowance rivals. Prado will not ride Buddha in the Wood because he has the mount on Harlan's Holiday in the Blue Grass that day.

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who won the Wood back in 1989 with
Easy Goer, has picked up the mount on Buddha.

"One of Buddha's biggest edges in the Derby could be the experience of Pat Day," Bond said of the jock that has ridden in every Derby since 1984. "Should anything happen in the race, Pat's the right man to correct it. Pat was very impressed with Buddha's races in Florida and happy to take the mount."

Kinsman Stable's Blue Burner breezed five furlongs over the main
track at Belmont Park this morning in 1:01. It was the colt's first New York work since arriving from Florida Sunday.

Blue Burner, a son of French Deputy out of Haiati, won both his
starts as a two-year-old for trainer John Tammaro III in New Jersey. Bill Mott took over training of the colt last year, but shortly after the horse came into his care, Blue Burner developed sore shins and the outfit backed off, focusing on having him ready for Gulfstream.

Overcoming some trouble at the start, Blue Burner won a second-level allowance on Jan. 19 at Gulfstream. Lasix was added and the colt finished a good third in the Fountain of Youth and improved to be second with the addition of blinkers in the Florida Derby.

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will be seeking his first Wood
Memorial win aboard Blue Burner.

Diane Snowden's Laissezaller is scheduled to arrive from England on Wednesday afternoon. The colt's flight is scheduled to land at 1 p.m. and he will be in quarantine at Belmont Park by mid afternoon.

Laissezaller was originally owned by Seymour Cohn and raced three times over the turf in England last fall. The son of End Sweep was purchased by Snowden with dirt racing and America in mind.

The colt's last two starts have come over the "all weather" dirt
course at Lingfield where he finished second to Adiemus in the Winter Derby Trial and Winter Derby. In the bigger event, Laissezaller was disqualified to third for drifting in the stretch.

Richard Migliore, who won the Wood in 1985 with Eternal Prince, will ride Laissezaller.

Joseph Graffeo's Heir D ' Twine is unlikely to run in the Wood
Memorial, according to trainer Stephen L. DiMauro. The colt won a
second-level allowance two starts back and more recently was fourth in the Gotham.

"It doesn't look like we're going to run, unless a couple of horses
come out," DiMauro said. "I'm not sure what we're going to do. The Federico Tesio ($125,000, three-year-olds at nine furlongs, Pimlico, Saturday, April 20 is an option, then maybe the Peter Pan. I'm not sure where he stands with the rest of the crop. I'd rather see him prove himself on a lesser scale first."

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale said all is well with Koji Maeda's Sunday Break, who worked six furlongs in 1:15 2/5, breezing, Monday morning on Aqueduct's main track.

"He just walked today," Drysdale said. "I was real happy with his
work. He drew away from his workmate and galloped out very well."

In a March 27th allowance over the main track, Sunday Break raced erratically in the stretch but still bested lesser rivals by a length.

"He'd never done that before and I doubt he'll do it again," said
Drysdale, who won the 2000 Wood and Kentucky Derby for another
Japanese owner, Fusao Sekiguchi.

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