Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Rydilluc Breezes Into Classic Contention

He will try to take his turf credentials onto the Kentucky Derby Trail.

Recent experience has shown that one can’t dismiss horses with turf and all-weather credentials from Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) calculations. Thus, we’ll take very seriously the claims of Rydilluc, who breezed into classic contention with a win March 3 in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), and will attempt to advance his standing in either the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) or Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on the all-weather.

Rydilluc has started once on dirt, finishing unplaced in a hot one-mile maiden at Belmont Park in his October debut, where his starting price of 26.75-1 indicated that he was far from fully tuned up. Switched to Aqueduct’s turf course, Rydilluc led throughout to score an impressive 4 1/2-length win in a Nov. 23 mile maiden. He kicked off this year by prepping for the Palm Beach with a 5 3/4-length score in a one-mile turf allowance test Jan. 5 at Gulfstream Park.

On the score of pedigree, one wouldn’t have many concerns about Rydilluc handling synthetic or dirt surfaces. His sire, Medaglia d'Oro , is a grandson of the great European sire Sadler’s Wells and a son of Irish champion 2-year-old El Prado, and he spent his whole career racing on dirt. Medaglia d’Oro never snared a championship, but he was near the top of his division at 3, 4, and 5, and his victories included the Travers Stakes, Whitney Handicap, and Donn Handicap (all gr. I). He also took second—in a photo-finish—in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), in the Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), and in two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).

Medaglia d'Oro made a sensational start to his stud career with 16 stakes winners from a first crop of 151 foals, among them the great racemare Rachel Alexandra and other grade I winners C. S. Silk, Warrior's Reward , and Gabby's Golden Gal. Ten stakes winners emerged from Medaglia d’Oro’s second crop, including French highweighted 2-year-old Passion or Gold and the Betfair TVG Acorn Stakes (gr. I) victress Champagne d'Oro. Like most stallions these days, Medaglia d’Oro’s third and fourth crops proved less prolific, but his third foals did yield a further pair of grade I scorers in Kentucky Oaks and Apple Blossom Handicap (both gr. I) heroine Plum Pretty and Rodeo Drive (gr. IT) winner Marketing Mix.

If there was one quibble regarding this stellar beginning, it was the ratio of colts to fillies among Medaglia d’Oro’s best runners, with only three colts among his first 17 group or graded scorers. It occurred to us that phenotypical, rather than genotypical, factors may have worked to create this imbalance. We noted at the 2011 yearling sales that breeders had appeared to adjust by sending Medaglia d'Oro a more robust type of mare, which was reflected in colts at the yearling crop, at least those we saw at the sales.

That impression has been borne out by racetrack results, as those 2011 yearlings—the current Medaglia d’Oro 3-year-old crop—include not only Rydilluc, but also Violence , a juvenile grade I winner who was undefeated until suffering a career-ending injury Feb. 23 in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and the graded-winning and grade I-placed Den's Legacy . (We will note the crop also includes graded-winning filly Live Lively, successful in the Davona Dale Stakes, gr. II.)

Rydilluc’s broodmare sire, Clever Trick, is primarily an influence for performance on dirt, and is best known as sire of the brilliant sprinter Phone Trick. Swift and Classy, Rydilluc’s dam, also appeared to be a sprinter. She started only three times—all at six furlongs on the dirt—and won all three, her final outing seeing her take the What A Summer Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 2 1/2 lengths. Nineteen years old when Rydilluc was born, Swift and Classy is dam of 13 foals, 10 runners, and five winners, including previous black type scorer Gold Wonder and the stakes-placed duo of Dangerous Guy and Whambam. Rydilluc’s second dam, the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) runner up Sociable Duck, is by Quack, a horse who took the Hollywood Gold Cup at 10 furlongs, and who was effective on both dirt and turf.

In addition to Swift and Classy, Sociable Duck is also dam of the multiple stakes-winning and graded-placed Seducer (in turn, dam of the multiple graded winner Seducer’s Song, this pair both doing their best work on the turf) and the stakes-placed duo Croom and Smart Duck. Another of Sociable Duck’s offspring, the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan, was unraced, but proved to be a highly successful producer, as she is dam of Roman Ruler, who took the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I); Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) victor El Corredor; group winner Silver Tornado; and Maimonides , who was a winner and placed third in the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) in two starts. In tail-female line the family goes back to Dustwhirl, a 1926 daughter of Sweep, who appears as the dam of the 1941 Triple Crown laureate Whirlaway, and fifth dam of Conquistador Cielo, who took the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 1982, the year in which he was also champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year.

Rydilluc is rated A+ by TrueNicks on the basis of the El Prado/Icecapade cross. The pedigree is an outcross at five generations, other than a 5 x 4 cross of Nearctic, who appears through Icecapade and his close relative Northern Dancer.