April 23, 2024

Wonder Gadot, Heavenly Love breeze in company

Wonder Gadot romps to victory in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) under jockey John Velazquez at Aqueduct on Saturday, December 2, 2017 (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography

The Mark Casse-trained duo of Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love breezed a half-mile in company on Saturday over the fast main track at Fair Grounds ahead of upcoming stakes.

The sophomore fillies went four furlongs in :49.40 to ready for Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks points races next Saturday.

Heavenly Love is targeting the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, worth 10-4-2-1 points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1), while Wonder Gadot is cross-entered to that contest as well as the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) against the boys. The Lecomte is also worth 10-4-2-1 points, but for a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Assistant trainer David Carroll said Saturday morning that a decision on which race Wonder Gadot competes in will be made closer to the time of the race.

“I think (owner) Mr. (Gary) Barber and (trainer) Mark (Casse) will make the decision closer to race time,” Carroll said. “The main thing was to get a work over the track which she handled beautifully and she cooled out great. She and Heavenly Love both went beautifully.

“That decision will be made on game day so to speak. I think he’ll just be looking at the race and probably see who scratches and then take it from there. The main thing is that she shipped in very well and breezed beautifully. Whatever race she goes in, we look forward to it.”

Wonder Gadot closed out her juvenile campaign with an easy win at Aqueduct in the December 2 Demoiselle Stakes (G2). That followed a sixth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar in her first race outside of Woodbine. The Medaglia d’Oro filly broke her maiden, ran third in the Natalma Stakes (Can-G1) and dominated the Mazarine Stakes (Can-G3) by six lengths at the Canadian venue.

Heavenly Love romped in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland before finishing 11th in the Juvenile Fillies to round out 2017. She broke her maiden by five lengths over the turf at Kentucky Downs in early September.

Also working for the Lecomte on Saturday at Fair Grounds were Ebben and Zeke, who posted their final major moves ahead of the mile-and-70-yard affair.

Undefeated Zeke makes his stakes bow in the race for trainer Michael Stidham following a pair of nose victories in an off-the-turf Laurel Park maiden and grassy allowance/optional claimer at Fair Grounds last year. The Gio Ponti gelding clocked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Saturday.

Ebben has thrice faced stakes rivals, but failed to factor on each occasion for trainer Steve Margolis in the Ellis Park Juvenile, Iroquois Stakes (G3) and Street Sense Stakes. He rebounded last out to take an allowance/optional claimer at Churchill Downs on November 25 by 4 1/4 lengths, and breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on Saturday.

In other Lecomte news, trainer Tom Morley said Saturday that Ciaran will scratch from the race and instead go in a Fair Grounds allowance at the same distance of a mile and 70 yards on January 20.

“The Lecomte came up a very deep field and we are going to just wait for an allowance the following week,” Morley explained.

With Ciaran out of the race, also-eligible Trigger Warning can now draw into the contest.