Nobody has come closer to beating 3-year-old filly division leader Monomoy Girl this season than Wonder Gadot, who finished second to her by a half-length in the Kentucky Oaks. On Saturday, Wonder Gadot will try Monomoy Girl again in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx Racing.
Monomoy Girl is 5 for 5 on the year, with four of her wins coming by two lengths or more. In the Kentucky Oaks, she came into the stretch on a clear lead before being taken on by Wonder Gadot from the outside. The pair brushed repeatedly through the final furlong, with Monomoy Girl edging away late.
Wonder Gadot, who is trained by Mark Casse, also encountered trouble on the far turn of the Oaks when Coach Rocks, to her inside, forced her way around a rival and carried Wonder Gadot out a path.
“I think she had a bit of an excuse in that race,” Casse said.
The Oaks was the third consecutive stakes Wonder Gadot failed to win while being beaten less than a length. She came back against Canadian-bred fillies in the Woodbine Oaks in her next start and came up a head short.
Casse added blinkers for her next start, the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate against males, and she won by 4 3/4 lengths. She came back to beat the boys again in the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, winning by 5 3/4 lengths.
“I think her improvement was a combination of adding blinkers and getting her more distance,” Casse said about the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro.
Wonder Gadot’s Woodbine wins prompted Casse and owner Gary Barber to run her in the Travers on Aug. 25 at Saratoga. With Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, she raced forwardly in good position for seven furlongs before coming up empty and retreating to 10th.
The Travers was an odd race. Runner-up Mendelssohn set the pace while being stalked by Catholic Boy, who pulled away to win by four lengths. There was not much movement from the other eight runners in the field.
Casse said he didn’t have a good reason for Wonder Gadot’s performance but that “she ate more dirt than she ever had in her life and was coughing from it pretty good after the race.”
In the Cotillion versus Monomoy Girl, Wonder Gadot will be turning back in distance to 1 1/16 miles. John Velazquez, who was aboard for her two Woodbine wins, regains the mount.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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