Coming up with the victors on March 10 in both the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and the G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, Medaglia d’Oro (by El Prado) had his most impressive showing to date as a sire of classic colts. Already a star as a sire of champion fillies, Medaglia d’Oro has gotten colts who have been good, but either timing or talent or aptitude have not connected them to the Triple Crown in the resounding way that Enticed and Bolt d’Oro have announced themselves for the 2018 classics.

Bolt d’Oro started favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year at Del Mar, on a day when several strong favorites seemed to have a hard time getting hold of that track. The third-place finish cost the big bay the Eclipse Award as 2-year-old champion, and instead, the winner Good Magic also toted home the trophy at the Eclipse Awards ceremony.

After overcoming a minor setback, Bolt d’Oro had prepared with increasing intensity for the coming challenges on the road to the Triple Crown with improving works, and the colt staged a mighty tussle through the stretch with the highly talented McKinzie (Street Sense), who finished in front by a head but was disqualified for interference.

Both colts pulled away from the quick and capable Kanthaka (Jimmy Creed), who was 6 ½ lengths behind in third, and only a head separated Bolt d’Oro and his nemesis. They are expected to return for the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, and that should provide both another thrilling race, as well as a serious update on their progress toward the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar from the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, Bolt d’Oro is bred on a similar pattern to Enticed and the Medaglia d’Oro filly Wonder Gadot. The Gotham winner is out of a daughter of A.P. Indy’s Horse of the Year son Mineshaft, and Wonder Gadot is out of a daughter of champion Vindication, a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew like Horse of the Year A.P. Indy.

On the same day as the Santa Anita Derby, Enticed is expected to return in the April 7 Wood Memorial, same day as the Santa Anita Derby, and thence to Kentucky. A G2 winner at 2 in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Enticed is a proven graded winner at Churchill Downs, which is a consideration because some horses like the surface and others do not.

Enticed is also a rugged and robust individual who is expected to thrive on his racing. As a Darley homebred, Enticed races in the blue silks of Godolphin, and the good-looking dark bay is following in the path of Frosted (Tapit), who prepped for the classics here in the States with a victory in the Wood Memorial prior to a fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a second in the Belmont Stakes (behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah). Frosted then trained on to multiple G1 successes at 4 before retiring to stud at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky.

A similar destination would be desirable for Enticed, especially if he can participate in a classic exacta with another son of Darley sire Medaglia d’Oro. Acquired by Darley in a private transaction after his first crop rocketed to the top and made him leading freshman sire, Medaglia d’Oro has become a staple sire of quality horses who can go two turns and have versatility to race on turf or dirt.

The stallion’s first crop was led by champion and Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, who was elected Horse of the Year. Subsequently, he has had multiple champion Songbird, and the presence of those headline fillies has caused their sire to be misunderstood as a stallion with a bias toward fillies of quality.

Doubtless he does sire excellent fillies, but like Darley stallion Street Cry, who sired champions Zenyatta and current Australian star Winx, Medaglia d’Oro does sire more than star fillies. The problem for him is that the fillies have burned so much more brightly than any colts to date.

Bolt d’Oro is at work to rectify that perception.

Street Sense did his part to make breeders aware that Street Cry was not a filly sire by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, becoming champion 2-year-old colt, then winning the Kentucky Derby the following year.

At stud, Street Sense has been a remarkably steady sire of stock that show form at 2, then improve at 3. McKinzie has been a model of that trend, and he is a serious competitor for the Kentucky Derby, despite the result at Santa Anita.

Both he and Bolt d’Oro showed classic form, and it is really a question of improvement and further development in the coming weeks that will tell us which should be the master of the classics in 2018.

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