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Moonlight d’Oro Nearing Next Test
Moonlight d'Oro (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Moonlight d’Oro Nearing Next Test

ARCADIA, CA – Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s burgeoning 3-year-old filly Moonlight d’Oro posted her final work Monday as she nears her next test in Saturday’s $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G3).

The Las Virgenes is the third Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race held annually at Santa Anita Park, and with a distance of 1 mile on dirt, it is the first of those contested around two turns.

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Moonlight d’Oro finished second and third in her first 2 starts, each a dirt sprint at Del Mar, but Mandella kept faith that the well-regarded daughter of elite stallion Medaglia d’Oro would flourish once she tried routing.

Sent off as the 4/5 favorite in a 7-horse maiden special weight at Los Alamitos in mid-December, Moonlight d’Oro pressured Frosteria before pouncing and drawing off to win by 3 lengths for co-owners and Spendthrift Farm.

That maiden-smashing race has since produced future success, further helping Moonlight d’Oro’s chances Saturday.

Moonlight d’Oro after breaking her maiden (Credit: Benoit Photo)

Though still a maiden, Frosteria returned to finish second in the 7-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) here last month and is entered in a local one-mile maiden special weight Friday. Additionally, Moraz (who finished third in the Los Al event) broke her maiden next time out over this same course and distance.

“We’ll see how good she is,” Mandella said, belying the fact that Moonlight d’Oro has more than once outworked stablemate Amuse, a multiple graded stakes-placed 5-year-old mare.

Moonlight d’Oro’s final work was a 4-furlong maintenance move in :49. She previously covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 on January 20 (second-best of 32 that day) and 6 furlongs in 1:12.60 on January 27 (best of 6).

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One filly expected to face Moonlight d’Oro is the Doug O’Neill-trained Brilliant Cut, who would be stretching out to two turns for the first time should she appear.

O’Neill claimed the Speightstown filly for $50k out of her maiden-breaking fourth career start and promptly entered her in the 7-furlong Santa Ynez, where she finished third.

“She’s doing well and acts like two turns won’t be a problem, but you never know until you try,” O’Neill said. “She’s in good form right now.”

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