Medaglia d'Oro May Point for Big 'Cap After All

(from track report)
Milwaukee Brew is set to defend his title for owner Frank Stronach and trainer Bobby Frankel in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 1, but with war drums in the Middle East beating loudly, Frankel could add Strub Stakes (gr. II) winner Medaglia d'Oro to the Big 'Cap mix.

After Medaglia d'Oro won the Strub on Feb. 1 by seven lengths, Frankel indicated the son of El Prado would be pointed to the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 29, and bypass the Big 'Cap. But the unstable situation in the Middle East has caused horsemen with designs on the lucrative purses at Nad Al Sheba race course that day to reconsider.

"He's training for that race (Santa Anita Handicap)," Frankel said of Medaglia d'Oro, "but we'll play it by ear. The situation in the Middle East definitely is a factor."

Richard Mandella could have at least two and possibly four starters in the race, which he has won twice, in 1998 with Malek and in 1997 with Siphon. In 1997, Mandella horses captured the first three spots, as Sandpit ran second and Gentlemen third.

"Kudos and Pleasantly Perfect are definite as of now," Mandella said. "Redattore is possible, as is The Tin Man, although right now Redattore is more likely for the Kilroe (Mile on March 1). The Tin Man is pretty certain for the San Luis Obispo (gr. IIT at 1 ½ mile) on Saturday. There's an outside chance Olmodavor could go in the Big 'Cap, but right now I'm leaning towards the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II)."

That $500,000 race at 1 1/8 miles is on March 2 at the Fair Grounds.