OF THE WEEK
by James Scully
Medallist flatters Touch Gold in Dwyer
A sparkling performance by Medallist in Sunday’s Dwyer S. (G2)
has earned TOUCH GOLD (Deputy Minister) Stallion of the Week
honors. The three-year-old colt returned off a near 2 1/2-month
layoff to scorch his rivals on the front end of the 1 1/16-mile
Dwyer, recording fractions of :22 4/5, :44 2/5, 1:07 4/5 and 1:33
1/5 before stopping the timer in a stakes record 1:40. Blue Grass
S. (G1) hero The Cliff’s Edge (Gulch) was 3 3/4 lengths back in
Medallist is from his sire’s second crop. Another sophomore of
interest this year by Touch Gold is Mass Media, who defeated
older rivals when making his seasonal bow recently at Belmont
Park. The Bobby Frankel-trained colt is three-for-four overall.
Touch Gold earned more than $1.6 million on the track and
captured the Haskell Invitational H. (G1), but he’s better known
for derailing the 1997 Triple Crown bid of Silver Charm in the
Belmont S. (G1).
One opinion holds that Silver Charm never saw Touch Gold and
wouldn’t have allowed him to pass in deep stretch had Free House
not been in-between rivals. That’s highly disputed by those who
contend that Touch Gold would have won the last two legs of the
Triple Crown had he not stumbled at the start and been stopped in
the stretch of the Preakness (G1).
One thing everyone can agree upon is that Touch Gold was a
heckuva runner when his feet were right. A brilliant 8 1/2-length
victor of the Lexington S. (G2) before his stretch in the
Preakness, Belmont and Haskell, the bay was never the same
afterward due to foot problems.
Owned by Stonerside Stables and Frank Stronach, Touch Gold is
the last foal from the terrific Buckpasser mare Passing Mood, a
stakes winner herself and out of Canadian Oaks queen Cool Mood
(Northern Dancer), which makes her a half-sister to the unraced
Shy Spirit (Personality), dam of 1990 Canadian Horse of the Year
Izvestia. Passing Mood produced two stakes-caliber foals before
throwing With Approval, who captured the Canadian Triple Crown
and was named Canadian Horse of the Year in 1989. She’s also the
dam of stakes winners Bar U Mood (Saratoga Six) and Daijin
Touch Gold concluded his racing career in 1998 and entered
stud at Adena Springs Kentucky. His first crop included the
prolific filly Composure, who captured the Oak Leaf S. (G2)
before finishing a close second to champion Storm Flag Flying
(Storm Cat) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). After
opening her three-year-old season with victories in the Las
Virgenes S. (G1) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1), Composure was being
considered for the Kentucky Derby (G1), but she was injured and
Touch Gold is the sire of last year’s Tampa Bay Derby (G3)
winner Region of Merit and Holy Bull S. (G3) runner-up Powerful
Touch, but the best male from his first crop is Midas Eyes, a 9
1/4-length winner of the Swale S. (G3) who also captured the 2003
Derby Trial (G3). Midas Eyes finished second in last year’s Cigar
Mile H. (G1) and has also placed in the Malibu S. (G1) and Riva
Another recent stakes winner from Touch Gold is the
three-year-old filly Adobe Gold, who earned her initial
black-type score with a 4 3/4-length tally in the Halo America S.
at Calder earlier this month.
At auction, 99 yearlings have been sold for more than $13.9
million, with an average price of $140,777. Twenty-eight
weanlings have passed through the sales ring at an average of
$115,071, and 32 juveniles averaged $142,344.
Touch Gold, who brought a live foal fee of $50,000 this year,
stands at Adena Springs Kentucky.