Wonder Wheel Edges Chop Chop in Alcibiades
Clearview Stable’s Wonder Gal was a precious juvenile for trainer Leah Gyarmati, a stakes winner during the filly’s initial season in 2014 and the third-place finisher in that year’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita Park. Now her daughter, the Mark Casse-trained Wonder Wheel, has a date in the same race, taking place at Keeneland on Nov. 4.
Racing at Keeneland on Oct. 7 on the opening day of the track’s fall meet, the D. J. Stable-owned filly earned a paid, automatic berth in the race by lasting for a nose victory before a packed grandstand in the $497,337 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1). The Alcibiades served as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Wonder Wheel, dk b/br, 2/f
Into Mischief — Wonder Gal, by Tiz Wonderful
Owner: D. J. Stable, LLC (Leonard C. Green)
Breeder: Three Chimneys Farm, LLC & Clearsky Farms (KY)
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.
Into Mischief stands at Spendthrift Farm for $250,000 (2022).
KEESEP2021 • $275,000 • Consignor: Clearsky Farms • Buyer: D.J. Stable.
The daughter of Into Mischief made the most of her rail draw, skipping clear of traffic early and holding off the late rush of Chop Chop in a finish so tight that Hall of Fame trainer Casse did not allow himself to celebrate until seeing a slow motion replay shortly after the race.
“She got it!” exclaimed assistant trainer, David Carroll, hugging Casse, moments before the Hall of Fame conditioner received a congratulatory phone call from his wife, Tina.
Wonder Wheel “got it” but not by much after showing a reluctance to switch leads down the stretch after holding a three-length midstretch lead. But she had enough left to fend off the late-finishing runner-up, as well as Raging Sea and Xigera, who crossed the wire in third and fourth.
The latter two fillies flopped positions in the official order of finish after stewards disqualified Raging Sea and placed her fourth behind Xigera for bumping her down the stretch.
“We always thought (Wonder Wheel) had a lot of class and she really showed it today,” jockey Tyler Gaffalione said. “She put in a really big performance. Visually, (the win) doesn’t look as easy as it should, but she kind of just got lost coming into the stretch, and there were a lot of people in the stands today, so she had every excuse.”
Wonder Wheel raced 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.17 following splits of:23.49, 47.16, and 1:11.60 under Gaffalione. She paid $10.20 for a $2 win wager as the tepid favorite in the field of 14.
“I’m just so happy for the Greens,” Casse said of the Green family of D. J. Stable, which includes Leonard Green and his son, Jonathan. “They’ve put a lot of money into the game, and they deserve it.”
D. J. Stable acquired Wonder Wheel last year for $275,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale from the consignment of her co-breeder, Clearsky Farms.
Runner-up in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) in her last start, Wonder Wheel improved her record to 3-1-0 from four races and earnings to $510,725. She landed the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs in July.
“She had a great trip today; she had a little bit of a troubled trip (in the Spinaway)”, Casse said. “And in all honesty, the Spinaway is a big race—it’s a grade 1, but it wasn’t my main goal. Today was it, and hopefully, this will lead us into another big race coming up.”
Wonder Wheel is one of just two foals out of her dam, an earner of $904,800 who died earlier this year, according to Equineline. Her other foal, Road Bible, a 4-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile is a three-time winner with earnings of $70,480.