Moonlight d’Oro, the Medaglia d’Oro filly who turned heads Feb. 6 with an impressive victory in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park, has been sidelined with a knee chip that will require arthroscopic surgery, co-owner Michael Behrens confirmed Feb. 9.
News of the issue, discovered Feb. 8, was first reported by Racing Dudes.
The procedure is expected to sideline the Richard Mandella trainee for 60-90 days, which will take her off the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. She ranked 10th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard after picking up 10 points for her Las Virgenes score.
“There was a little bit of heat (in her right knee), they took an X-ray, and found a small chip,” said Behrens, founder and CEO of MyRacehorse, which owns the 3-year-old filly in partnership with Spendthrift Farm. “This is why we’re with Mandella’s team; he always does right by the horse and cares about what is best for the horse. He thinks it’s best for the horse to do the surgery now and shut her down, and we’re going to do what’s best for her. We’re hopeful this will be just a small setback.”
A $620,000 purchase by Spendthrift from Stonehaven Steadings’ consignment to the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Moonlight d’Oro made two starts sprinting at Del Mar before she broke her maiden going a mile Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos with a three-length score. She stepped directly into graded company next for the Las Virgenes, also run at a mile, and drew off easily to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
“She had been training unbelievably (going into the Las Virgenes),” Behrens said. “We knew as a horse that she needed a route of ground, but her sprints were super impressive at Del Mar and then when she got to stretch out a little bit at Los Al, she was super confident. She did it so easily, it was like she realized who she was and what she was capable of. In the mornings, she’d show us exactly what we thought she would be, so there was no doubt in our mind she was going to run impressively Saturday.”
Joe Moran, West Coast racing manager for MyRacehorse, said the filly will undergo additional tests before a procedure is booked locally. She should not be required to travel out of California and will likely recover at a local facility until she is ready to return to Mandella’s barn.
“Before she does have surgery, they’re going to run a full set of diagnostics and make sure everything else is clean,” Moran said. “We should know more in the next few days.”
Moonlight d’Oro has many micro-share owners through the MyRacehorse model, similar to Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old Authentic .