Medaglia d'Oro, away from action since running second in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, returns to competition Saturday as the favorite among six entrants in the $400,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita Park.His Breeders' Cup loss to 43-1 shot Volponi might have cost Medaglia d'Oro an Eclipse Award as the best 3-year-old of 2002. The Bobby Frankel-trained colt finished second in the voting to War Emblem, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.Overall, the son of El Prado won four of his nine starts, including the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita and the Jim Dandy and Travers (both gr. I) at Saratoga en route to earning more than $2.2 million for owner Edmund Gann of San Diego.Jerry Bailey will be in from Florida to ride Medaglia d'Oro, who drew the outside post for the 1 1/8-mile Strub and will carry high weight of 123 pounds.Pass Rush, weighted second at 121 pounds, figures to be second choice in the betting and will leave the gate just inside Medaglia d'Oro, from post five, under Corey Nakatani.Trained by Patrick Byrne, who won the 1997 Eclipse Award as the country's top conditioner, Pass Rush won the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 11. He is one of the few Indiana-breds ever to win a graded stakes.San Fernando runner-up Tracemark also is entered in the Strub.The 56th Strub, originally named for former Santa Anita chairman Charles H. Strub, will be run as the ninth race on a 10-race card.
$400,000 Strub (gr. II), 4 –year-olds, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Olmodavor, Alex Solis, 117
2. Castle Gandolfo, Mike Smith, 117
3. Easy Grades, Julie Krone, 117
4. Tracemark, Kent Desormeaux, 117
5. Pass Rush, Corey Nakatani, 121
6. Medaglia d'Oro, Jerry Bailey, 123