Vascotto, a former Australian Turf Club employee who bravely battled cancer for many years, lost her fight last month and her funeral surface was livestreamed on Friday.
McDonald paid tribute to the popular racing identity after steering the Chris Waller-trained Selburose to victory in the Vale Nini Vascotto (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“Huge thrill to win that in honour of Nini. She showed as much courage as that mare did there, so it was very fitting,” McDonald said.
“She will be sadly missed but never forgotten.”
Waller also had a special friendship with Vascotto, who was a great fan of his mighty mare Winx and often sashed her after she won.
“What a pleasure to win this race named after Nini. It was a pretty sad day yesterday for everybody watching from home and our thoughts are with (Vascotto’s husband) Murray and the family,” Waller said.
The win was well deserved for Selburose ($3.90 equal fav), who had finished in the minor placings at her three previous starts.
She was able to control the race from the front and held out the fast-finishing Shaik ($8.50) by three-quarters of a length with Enfleurage ($9) sticking on solidly for third.