TORONTO, ON – Much like her namesake, Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot demolished every foe – male or female – that dared challenge her en route to the biggest score of her career in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking from post 11 under John Velazquez as the 2-1 favorite in a full field of 16, Wonder Gadot fought through the initial traffic one would expect to encounter amidst such grandiose company before settling close behind Telekinesis through initial splits of :23.12, :46.82, 1:11.85, and 1:36.28. Wearing blinkers for the first time following three straight second-place finishes, Wonder Gadot made her move through the far turn and hit the top of the stretch with a windstorm behind her. Drawing away from the field convincingly, the Mark Casse trainee crossed the wire with a 4 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 2:02.26 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the main track’s synthetic surface.
“She was awesome,” Velazquez said after winning his first Queen’s Plate. “Finally, we got her to pay attention and pass horses. She was great.”
A pair of longer shots completed the trifecta behind her. Aheadbyacentury rallied five-wide to get second, while Cooler Mike‘s early stalking position helped keep him close enough to head Strike Me Down for third.
“I had a great trip,” said Luis Contreras, jockey aboard Aheadbyacentury. “My horse broke okay and I saved a bit of ground. At the 1/2-mile, I was ready to make my move, and the horse in front of me started to drop back and bothered me a little. I moved outside and let him rebreak, and he was fine.
Telekinesis tired in the stretch and finished fifth ahead of Say the Word, while Boyhood Dream necked out seventh over Alternative Route. Ninth across was Real Dude, with Neepawa heading Inge behind him. Silent Poet, Pawnbroker, Rose’s Vision, Marriage Counselor, and the field’s other filly Dixie Moon completed the order of finish.
Wonder Gadot’s win was her first in 2018 following seconds in the Woodbine Oaks, the Kentucky Oaks, the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, along with thirds in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro became a millionaire, increasing her career bankroll to $1,199,053, while improving her overall record to 12-4-4-3. It was the second Queen’s Plate for Casse and Barber, who teamed up to take the 2014 edition with another filly, Lexie Lou.
The win also marked the fourth time in the past eight years, the ninth overall, and the second straight that a filly won the premiere event for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. The first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate is also the richest. The next leg is the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, scheduled to be contested on July 24 at Fort Erie.
“If all goes well, the Prince of Wales could set her up well for the Alabama,” Casse said, referencing the Grade 1, 1 1/4-mile dirt race at Saratoga. “She loves the distance. I think, if she’ll stay happy and healthy, she’s going to be tough. She’ll give anybody in North America a run for their money in the Alabama. She just goes and goes. She’s Wonder Woman.”
Wonder Gadot returned $6.40 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Aheadbyacentury brought back $17.60 to place and $10.30 to show, while Cooler Mike paid $15.90 to show.