July 23, 2024

Brown stable scores again in Wonder Again with Segesta

Segesta wins the 2024 Wonder Again (G2) (Susie Raisher/Coglianese Photography)

For the sixth time in the 11-year history of the event, trainer Chad Brown won the $200,000 Wonder Again (G2) at Aqueduct on Monday. But has been the case on occasion in graded stakes through the first half of season, it was with a filly different from the one many expected to prevail.

Juddmonte homebred Segesta, the 4-1 second choice in the field of six three-year-old fillies, captured the Wonder Again by a half-length from Sy B, who, like Segesta, was making her first start against winners in the nine-furlong grass test.

The disappointment in the field was the Brown-trained Sweet Rebecca, who came up empty in the final couple of furlongs after rating just off the leader down the backside. The 3-4 favorite, who entered with a 2-for-2 record including a score in Memories of Silver S., finished fifth behind the third-placed Vive Veuve and the fourth-placed Grayosh, another Brown trainee. Trailing the field was early pacesetter Curlin’s Girl.

Brown reported after the race that Sweet Rebecca had taken a bad step during the running of the race.

“Sweet Rebecca took a really bad step around the five-sixteenths pole and I’m hoping she’s OK,” he said. “She was looking like she would be a real threat. She put in a great performance and turning for home she completely lost her action on the turn. (Jockey) Tyler (Gaffalione) said after she took that step, she did not feel the same down the stretch, so fingers crossed she didn’t get injured.”

By virtue of finishing in the top three, Segesta, Sy B, and Vive Veuve all earned invitations to compete in the 1 3/16-mile Belmont Oaks (G1) at Aqueduct on July 6.

Segesta, who was making her fourth career start, was guided by Irad Ortiz Jr. and finished up in 1:48.24 over firm ground. She returned $10.

“The pace was going a little faster than it looked on paper and Irad made the good decision to take her back and that was it,” Brown said. “She got a good trip.”

Ninth of 10 in her debut at Gulfstream in January, Segesta fared much better second out at Tampa Bay Downs, where she finished second by a neck. She eventually broke her maiden by a half-length going a mile at Keeneland last month.

The Kentucky-bred Segesta is by Ghostzapper and out of Just a Game (G1) winner Antonoe, a daughter of First Defence.