The Lane’s End Weekender Pedigree: Violence/Medaglia d’Oro
Now unbeaten in three starts, Violence became a Grade 1 winner with a professional-looking victory by a length and a quarter in Saturday's CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. Previously the winner of a good maiden at Saratoga and the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct, Violence is showing improvement with distance, and he is showing the traits most-associated with his famous sire, Medaglia d'Oro – class and classic potential.
The best dirt-track son of the Sadler's Wells stallion El Prado, Medaglia d'Oro won eight races and finished second seven times in his 17 starts, with his premium victories including the G1 Travers, Whitney, and Donn. Medaglia d'Oro was runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, the Dubai World Cup, and the Breeders' Cup Classic (twice).
A truly handsome and beautifully shaped horse, Medaglia d'Oro was gifted with speed in excess of the norm for his Sadler's Wells branch of the Northern Dancer line, and Medaglia d'Oro showed exceptionally high class under the skilled training of Bobby Frankel. (He was purchased privately by Edmund Gann after winning his second career start for owner-breeders Albert and Joyce Bell and trainer David Vance.)
When the horse went to stud in 2005, however, at Hill ‘n' Dale Farm, not all the world beat a path to his door. The Sadler's Wells line was still looked at as a “turf line” by many breeders, who would rather have bred to camels than turf horses.
But enough breeders came ‘round to see the horse, and he was nothing if not impressive in his proportions from the profile view, and he had a good smooth walk also.
So a representative number of breeders found no fault with his “turf” ancestors and helped out the stallion so that he had 145 registered foals in his first crop, born in 2006.
That was the stallion's largest crop till his fifth, of which Violence is a member. As is usual, hard-nosed commercial breeders used the horse his first season, then went to another rose, which surely smelled as sweet.
The stallion's second crop numbered 97, the third had 110, and the fourth 82. Amongst the oscillations of the volume in his book of mares, Medaglia d'Oro, for his second season at stud, moved to Stonewall Farm, then owned by the stallion's principal investors. The stallion's first juveniles were training and beginning to race like serious athletes in mid-2008 when Rich Santulli and Barry Weisbord purchased a 20% interest in the stallion.
Then, when Medaglia d'Oro's daughter Rachel Alexandra appeared on the classic scene in 2009, winning the Kentucky Oaks by a pole and then becoming the first filly to win the Preakness since Nellie Morse in 1924, Darley swept in with an offer too large to refuse and snatched up the majority interest in the best young classic stallion in America for their burgeoning stallion roster in Kentucky.
Conceived in 2009, Violence is among the 147 foals from Medaglia d'Oro's fifth crop, the last before his sale to Darley. This is also the first crop conceived after the stallion's freshmen runners, which included five juvenile stakes winners, had come to the races in 2008.
In the meantime, the marketplace had gone “mad for Medaglia” after the stallion's first crop kept sprouting stakes winners that eventually totaled 16. And many of the premium mares that had not been sent to Medaglia d'Oro were booked to him for his fifth and subsequent books.
Hill ‘n' Dale Sales, as agent for breeder Dell Ridge Farm, sold Violence as Hip 469 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale for $600,000, and the striking dark brown colt was scooped up by Black Rock Stable as the co-second-priciest lot among Medaglia d'Oro's yearlings of last year.
Out of Medaglia d'Oro's massive 2010 crop of foals, 117 went through the ring, and 86 sold for an average price of $199,614 and a median price of $150,000.
Violence is the ninth G1 winner for Medaglia d'Oro, whose other winners at the top level include Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (Kentucky Oaks, Preakness), Plum Pretty (Kentucky Oaks), Marketing Mix, C.S. Silk, Gabby's Golden Gal, and Champagne d'Oro. The stallion has two other colts that have succeeded in G1s: Warrior's Reward, now at stud at Spendthrift, and French highweight Passion for Gold.
Should Violence keep stepping up in quality through the spring and become a classic winner, his success in that would ensure Medaglia d'Oro continuing access to premium mares that would help to make him a sire of elite stallions and broodmares for the next generation, as well as a continuing sire of notable racehorses.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.