TORONTO, September 14 – With Wonder Gadot showing early signs of star power, the filly’s connections are hoping to see her Hollywood-inspired name on the big screen in Woodbine Racetrack’s infield during Ricoh Woodbine Mile weekend.
Wonder Gadot is one of three Mark Casse-trained two-year-old fillies co-starring in the $250,000 Natalma Stakes (Grade 1), which is one of two ‘Breeders’ Cup Win And You’re In’ one-mile turf events set for Sunday, Sept. 17.
Owned by film production company executive Gary Barber, Wonder Gadot is named for the summer blockbuster Wonder Woman and leading lady Gal Gadot.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms, the Medaglia d’Oro-Loving Vindication filly is a full sister to Solemn Tribute, last year’s King Edward Stakes (Gr. 2) runner-up at Woodbine.
“We bought her in April at the [Ocala] two-year-old sale and right from the beginning she showed she was special,” said Casse, who initially sent the $325,000 purchase to Saratoga, but opted to get a prep race into her over the Woodbine surface leading up to the Natalma Stakes. “When we sent her up there, I told our main assistant David Adams, ‘we’re sending you something special.’ She was training really well.”
Wonder Gadot showed star power right out of the gate winning her premiere, a seven-furlong turf allowance by four lengths on August 26 at Woodbine, with stablemate and fellow Natalma Stakes contender Mo Big Cat running second.
“Obviously, we enjoyed the 1-2 finish,” said Casse. “I thought [Wonder Gadot] ran well, and really the most impressive part to her race may have been after the race. She took off after the race and galloped out about an eighth of a mile in front of everybody so I feel like the farther the better.”
Mo Big Cat, also owned by Barber, was a $140,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland sale and has already banked $77,620 in her first four starts, including a maiden-breaking victory over six furlongs on the Woodbine turf and a third-place finish in the Shady Well Stakes in July.
“She’s done well,” Casse said of the Uncle Mo-Sweet Kitten filly. “She, too, seems to want to go farther. I thought she got in a little trouble in the prep and could have maybe been a little closer. She’s a nice filly, but I’m not positive she’s in the same category as the other filly.”
Casse also campaigns Natalma contender Pretty Lady, a daughter of Scat Daddy out of Classic Strike that was purchased at the two-year-old Fasig-Tipton sale in Florida for $550,000 by Easy Breeze LLC. She is a full-sibling to millionaire graded stakes winner Handsome Mike and a half-sister to Grade 1 stakes champion Union Strike.
“Pretty Lady is a filly that we’re excited about,” said Casse, noting her big pedigree and new owners in the game. “She’s a filly that we also had at Saratoga and I thought she reminded me a lot of Catch a Glimpse.”
In preparation for the Natalma, Casse also sent Pretty Lady to Woodbine for her career debut, where she finished second over six furlongs on the turf on August 27 against a field of colts after the filly division overfilled.
“I thought she ran really well,” said Casse of her runner-up finish to this weekend’s Summer Stakes starter Count Alexander. “She’s a filly that we believe is going to improve in her second start and I think if she does that, she’s going to run well.”
The Natalma field also includes Golconda Stables’ undefeated filly March X Press, who won the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga last time out for trainer Todd Pletcher, as well as Great Britain invader Capla Temptress and recent winners Delamar, Dixie Moon, Dooder and Golden Orb (Orb-Day of Victory), a half-sister to two-time graded stakes winner Finley’sluckycharm.
The $250,000 Natalma Stakes (Grade 1) is scheduled as race nine on Sunday’s program. First race post time is set for 1 p.m.
$250,000 Natalma Stakes (Grade 1) – Race 9
PP – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1. Dooder – John Velazquez – Chad Brown
2. Mo Big Cat – Jesse Campbell – Mark Casse
3. March X Press – Jose Ortiz – Todd Pletcher
4. Delamar – Jermone Lermyte – Roger Attfield
5. Pretty Lady – Gary Boulanger – Mark Casse
6. Golden Orb – Luis Contreras – Christophe Clement
7. Capla Temptress – Joel Rosario – Marco Botti
8. Wonder Gadot – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
9. Dixie Moon – Eurico Rosa da Silva – Catherine Day Phillips