Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot didn’t show much when sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last out on November 4 at Del Mar, but turned around on Saturday to romp by 3 3/4 lengths in the $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct for trainer Mark Casse.
The Medaglia d’Oro filly had Patrick Husbands in the irons for her initial four races, but jockey John Velazquez took over for Saturday’s contest. The duo latched onto Daisy as the 5-2 second choice ranged up to lead the way through the opening quarter in :24.47. Held Accountable and Daisy’s stablemate Maurer Power lined up to the outside of Wonder Gadot at first, but then Maurer Power angled over to the inside rounding the first turn and Held Accountable soon dropped back as well.
Wonder Gadot continued tracking as Daisy proceeded through a half-mile in :50.28 and six furlongs in 1:16.24, but moved up to run in tandem with the pacesetter circling the final bend. Held Accountable also began her move on the turn to draw even with the duo, but Wonder Gadot asserted her class in the lane and drew off with a high-stepping stride.
Despite the awkward-looking run, the dark bay filly continued pulling away to stop the clock in 1:53.91 over the fast main track. She returned $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite and earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks as the Demoiselle is a points race in that series.
Maurer Power rallied to pass all others for second, three lengths in front of Layla Noor on the wire. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Daisy in fourth, while Held Accountable just missed that spot by a neck. Indy Union, Stakes On a Plane and Vindictive Ways completed the order of finish.
Wonder Gadot improved her scorecard to read 5-3-0-1 with this victory and has banked $319,973 in lifetime earnings. The Canadian-bred lass began her career over Woodbine’s turf, taking her debut by four lengths in an allowance on August 26 and finishing a close third, beaten only three parts of a length, in the September 17 Natalma Stakes (Can-G1).
She tried Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta main track next, and wired the Mazarine Stakes (Can-G3) by six lengths on October 7. Next up was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Wonder Gadot’s first try on a conventional dirt track. The filly was never in the race, running near the rear of the field early, but did manage to rally for sixth on that occasion.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., Wonder Gadot is out of the winning Vindication mare Loving Vindication and counts as a full brother Grade 2-placed stakes hero Solemn Tribute. Her second dam is the Grade 3-scoring Elusive Quality mare Chimichurri, and this female line also boasts dual Group 1 victor and successful sire Mark of Esteem.
John Velazquez, jockey Wonder Gadot, winner
“I was talking to the trainers about staying closer to the speed. We were hoping she would be comfortable and I was happy where she put me. When I came down, I switched leads, and she was going very comfortable and got away from the horses pretty easily. She has a beautiful stride. I was very happy with the way she did it.”
Jamie Begg, assistant trainer Wonder Gadot, winner
“Yeah, that was the plan going into it. Kind of sit off of it but be a little closer than she was in the last race. And the fractions worked beautifully in our favor. Johnny (Velazquez) said he was just waiting there to make his move. I was pretty happy with the way it worked out because a few of the races here have been going pretty quick up front and the speed is holding.”
“(Trainer) Mark (Casse) was smart. He sent her straight back to the farm from California (after Wonder Gadot finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies [G1]) and they were pondering what to do with her. So they sent her back to the farm, and I think that lay back kind of helped her a little bit. It was easier to climatize her, bring her to the East coast before, instead of just shipping her straight into Aqueduct.”
John Servis, trainer Maurer Power (second) and Daisy (fourth)
“I was disappointed with Daisy’s effort. He (jockey Kendrick Carmouche) said she was a little flat going into the far turn and just got off the bit a little bit. We’re going to give her a little freshening after this, get her ready for her three-year-old campaign and see how she does.
“I just think that it was a little quick back off that (winning) effort (in the November 3 Tempted [G3]) to go a mile and an eighth. (Owner) Mr. (Rick) Porter (of Fox Hill Farms) and I talked and we had decided that we were going to shut her down after this and give her a few weeks off to freshen her for next year.
“The other filly (Maurer Power), I was very happy with her. (Jockey) Irad (Ortiz Jr.) loved her. He wants to ride her back. I think she’s progressing nicely. I think both of them are going to be really nice fillies for us.
“She had some time off after her first race, which really moved her forward. She blossomed off of that. So, she’ll be on her way to Florida and we’ll train her in the better weather and see how she keeps progressing.”