‘GAL’ GADOT GALLOPS IN THE GOO
Has now made 3 starts in Canada to be eligible for Sovereign Award
(with files from Fort Erie Media)
Wonder Gadot took centre stage once again dominating a field of six with a powerful front-running performance to take the 83rd edition of the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, second jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, Tuesday at Fort Erie Race Track.
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the irons for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber, Wonder Gadot was hustled out of the gate to take command and never looked back en route to a 5 ¾-length score over a sloppy main track.
It was Casse’s 4th Wales win in the last 10 years.
“She always gives 100 percent. I’m very proud of her. It was a different surface. A different (running) style today and she responded to what I wanted her to do,” said Velazquez. “I was warming her up and the more I looked at the track, I couldn’t have her behind horses today. I wanted to keep her face clean. She was comfortable up front and it worked out well.”
The dark bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro set splits of :23.65, :48.03 and 1:12.96 with Cooler Mike stalking closely from second. Aheadbyacentury, racing last of six in the early going, moved into contention through the far turn as Wonder Gadot put away a stubborn Cooler Mike.
However, there would be no catching the Queen’s Plate champion who improved on her 2 ½-length lead at the stretch call under light handling from Velazquez. Aheadbyacentury (Midnight Lute),. owned by Jack of Hearts Racing and John Ross, stayed on strong for place 13 ¼-lengths in front of Cooler Mike.
Cooler Mike, hard ridden through the stretch, was more than 13 lengths ahead of 4th place finisher Eskiminzin with Absolution and Home Base completing the field.
Wonder Gadot covered 1 3/16-miles in 1:58.71, the slowest clocking for the race since it was moved to dirt and 1 3/16 miles in 1988. That was certainly due to the tough track condition. She put up a 92 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.
While a Canadian Triple Crown sweep is on the table for Ms. Gadot, the chances that the filly will run 1 1/2 miles on turf back at Woodbine instead of in the Grade 1 Alabama are very unlikely.
“It’s a longshot but we still want a shot to be champion three-year-old in North America. By going a mile and a half on the grass, it just doesn’t really fit in to what we’re trying to do,” said Casse. “Right now, she’s running on the dirt and going a mile and an eighth, a mile and three-sixteenths and a mile and a quarter. To go a mile and a half on the grass…in all honesty, her least preferred surface in my opinion is the grass.”
With current American 3yo filly leader Monomoy Girl expected to make her next start in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes, at Parx, Casse is contemplating the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, a 1 ¼-mile dirt race at Saratoga.
“We’ll probably try to go to the Alabama and then the (Breeders’ Cup) Distaff. We know she likes Churchill Downs, so that’s definitely something we’re going to point for as well,” said Casse.
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff, at 1 1/8-miles on the dirt, is slated for November 2 at Churchill Downs and would be a fitting site for a potential re-match for year-end honours in North America.