Whitney H. (gr. I)

(gr. I , 9f ,)

MEDAGLIA D'ORO (DK B/ h, 123 lb) $450,000
El Prado (IRE) —Cappucino Bay , by Bailjumper
B—Joyce Bell, KY.; O—Edmund A. Gann; T—Robert J. Frankel

Volponi (B h, 120 lb) $150,000
Cryptoclearance —Prom Knight , by Sir Harry Lewis
B—Amherst Stable, KY.; O—Amherst Stable and Spruce Pond Stable; T—Philip G. Johnson

Evening Attire (GR/RO g, 118 lb) $82,500
Black Tie Affair (IRE) —Concolour , by Our Native
B—Joseph M. Grant, KY.; O—Grant, Mary and Joseph and Kelly, Thomas J.; T—Patrick J. Kelly

Margins: 1, 1¼, neck. Others: Puzzlement 112($45,000) , Northern Rock (JPN) 114($22,500) , Saarland 113 , Proud Citizen 114 . Winning Jockey, Jerry D. Bailey.

Medaglia d’Oro has stamped himself a legitimate Horse of the Year candidate and one to watch in the Oct. 25 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I) following his performance in the Aug. 2 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.

The Bobby Frankel-trained Medaglia d’Oro returned from a 119-day layoff to defeat six outstanding rivals in the 11/8-mile test. Last year’s upset Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Volponi, was a length behind in second, with Evening Attire 11/4 lengths back for third. Medaglia d’Oro completed the distance in 1:47.69.

Frankel indicated Medaglia d’Oro could next start in the Sept. 6 Woodward Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont en route to the Breeders’ Cup.

Medaglia d’Oro entered the Whitney off two wins in two starts on the year. He won the Feb. 1 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita followed by the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. He finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Frankel trains Medaglia d’Oro for Southern California resident Edmund Gann, who with wife Bernice, sent out six different runners to win 13 stakes events, including seven grade I’s, in 2002. So far this year, the Ganns have 13 stakes wins, including four in grade I company, from six different runners. Peace Rules, owned by the Ganns and trained by Frankel, won the Aug. 3 Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth. He will probably start in the Aug. 23 Travers Stakes (gr. I).

Gann privately purchased Medaglia d’Oro as a 3-year-old from his breeders, Albert and Joyce Bell, after breaking his maiden in his second start. The Bells own the dam of Medaglia d’Oro, Cappucino Bay, as well as a yearling Catrail filly, Kahuli, and a Storm Boot colt foaled on March 31.

El Prado is the sire of Medaglia d’Oro and 42 other added-money winners. Among his 13 stakes winners this year are Senor Swinger (gr. IIIT), Mi Pradera (PR-I), Spanish Sun (Eng-II), and El Prado Essence (Can-III). El Prado stands at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Kentucky near Versailles, Ky. His 2003 fee was $75,000.—L.D.