Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez made a mental note to himself after observing the sloppy condition of Fort Erie’s main track during the warm-up period prior to Tuesday evening’s $303,680 Prince of Wales, the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown
“[I decided] I can’t have her behind horses on this track,” said Velazquez, the pilot on 2-5 favorite Wonder Gadot.
Immediately sending the filly to the lead from post 1, Velazquez nursed the Queen’s Plate winner through fractions of :23.65, :48.03, and 1:12.96 before letting her roll through the stretch for another dominating effort against her fellow Canadian-bred three-year-olds.
Wonder Gadot, under minimal urging by Velazquez, blew away her rivals by 5 3/4 lengths, covering 1 3/16 miles in 1:58.71. Queen’s Plate runner-up Aheadbyacentury was second again, 13 1/4 lengths clear of Cooler Mike. Eskiminzin, Absolution, and Home Base rounded out the strung-out field.
This was the fourth win in the Prince of Wales for trainer Mark Casse, who trains Wonder Gadot for Gary Barber. She’s the first horse since Wando, in 2003, to win the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown and the first filly to do so since Hall of Famer Dance Smartly in 1991.
This was Wonder Gadot’s first wire-to-wire victory since taking the Mazarine (G3) at Woodbine last fall. Another win, in the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct, and a third in the Natalma (G1) secured the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro champion two-year-old filly honors in Canada.
Wonder Gadot kicked off her sophomore campaign with six consecutive placings. In order they were in the Silverbulletday, Rachel Alexandra (G2), Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3), Kentucky Oaks (G1), and Woodbine Oaks. She finished only a half-length behind U.S. division leader Monomoy Girl in the Kentucky Oaks.
She finally turned things around in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate on June 30, dominating her male foes by 4 3/4 lengths as the 2-1 favorite. It was also her first start with blinkers. Wonder Gadot has now earned $1,381,261.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms, Wonder Gadot brought $375,000 at the OBS April juvenile sale. She’s out of the Vindication mare Loving Vindication, who has also reared the filly’s stakes-winning full brother Solemn Tribute. Wonder Gadot’s second dam is Grade 3 winner Chimichurri.