A new set of blinkers to improve focus gave the Medaglia d’Oro filly wings, and she snapped a six-race winless stretch in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown to earn her first victory of the season as the 2-1 favorite in a 16-horse field.
Trainer Mark Casse teamed with Barber for their second Queen’s Plate win. They took the 2014 edition of the 1 1/4-mile test with eventual Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou.
Wonder Gadot took over from stablemate Telekinesis, who showed the way early but wound up fifth. After she raced in eighth behind a :23.12 opening quarter-mile, Wonder Gadot and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez made a steady progression to fifth, fourth, and third at each point of call. She took over off the turn for home and drew away to a 4 3/4-length score in 2:02.26.
“She was awesome,” Velazquez said. “Finally we got her to pay attention and pass horses. ... I think the blinkers got her to pay more attention and do her job. ... When I asked her down the lane, she responded really well.”
Aheadbyacentury finished second at odds of 28-1, while Cooler Mike came in third at 46-1.
By Medaglia d'Oro , Wonder Gadot was a $325,000 purchase by TM Investments out of the 2017 OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
“[Casse] was telling me when he bought her, he said, ‘This horse is really special, find a special name,’ ” Barber recalled. “So I said, ‘OK, she's a wonderful horse, let's go with ‘Wonder,’ and then I matched up [the second part] with the [Wonder Woman] star called [Gal] Gadot.
“I love fillies, [Casse] knows that. We go for pedigrees and runners. We're very blessed to have this one. This was her due, definitely. I feel like she got her deserved reward and she's got better things [to come] down the road.”
Long On Value Punches Breeders’ Cup Ticket in Highlander
Well back in early stretch for the six-furlong turf sprint, after Lady Alexandra took over the lead from Axtell, Long On Value and jockey Florent Geroux unleashed a late rally on the outside and just got up to win by a neck in a final time of 1:07.13.
The Highlander is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in November at Churchill Downs. The horse is not Breeders' Cup eligible, however, and would have to be supplemented at a cost of $100,000.