11/18/2015 1:26PM

Eighth Wonder already quite good despite bad behavior

Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO
Eighth Wonder wins the Donna Freyer Stakes on Sunday at Parx Racing.

Eighth Wonder has faced relatively modest competition so far, but on Sunday, she kept her record perfect with a ridiculously easy win in the restricted Donna Freyer Stakes at Parx Racing.

Eighth Wonder, a 2-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, is now 3 for 3 with earnings of $126,000. She has won a maiden race, an allowance, and the 6 1/2-furlong Freyer, all at Parx. Nobody has gotten closer than five lengths to her, and her average winning margin is more than seven lengths.

In the Freyer, she was clear immediately out of the gate and coasted home to win by 9 1/4 lengths with jockey Jose Flores never asking for much and keeping her well out from the rail. Her Beyer Speed Figures have crept upward from a 71 to a 72 to a 76.

Eighth Wonder is trained by Dee Curry, who has a 14-horse stable at Parx, and is owned and was bred by Jeff Bowen’s Gryphon Investments. She is the sixth foal from the mare Cheeksandpeanuts, whose offspring have all won. While four of them have earned more than $100,000, Eighth Wonder is her first stakes winner.

Cheeksandpeanuts’s foals have something else in common. “They’re all nervous; they have behavioral issues,” Curry said.

Eighth Wonder was a handful in the paddock before her debut and didn’t step onto the track until after the post parade. She was tough second time out, too.

“I thought I would saddle her on the walk in the outside ring, but there was too much open air, some wind – she just wouldn’t stand still,” Curry said. “She was better Sunday. I just saddled her as quick as I could.”

Eighth Wonder might not race again until next year.

“She’s a pretty tall, big filly, winter’s coming, and the time off might help her mentally,” Curry said. “Parx is going to close from Christmas until February, and because of her behavior, I don’t know about shipping her to race.”

If Eighth Wonder gets the winter off, she will be sent to Dean Keller in South Carolina.

“He’s broke a lot of my horses and siblings of Eighth Wonder,” Curry said. “He knows the family.”

Curry and Bowen both grew up near Burlington, on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River by Philadelphia.

“Our high schools were near each other,” Curry said. “At first, I wanted to be a vet, then I was an exercise rider, an assistant trainer. Jeff always said he would send me some horses. He eventually came to me and said, ‘I want you to be my trainer.’ ”

Bowen and Curry bought five horses, one of whom was Wildcat Creek. They liked him enough that they bought his dam, Magestic Willowa, in foal to Pioneering. The resulting foal was Cheeksandpeanuts, who went 3 for 4 and won stakes at Penn National and what was then Philadelphia Park.

Cheeksandpeanuts died suddenly when Eighth Wonder was a weanling.

“It’s special to get a stakes winner out of her,” Curry said. “Hopefully, we get a few years out of Eighth Wonder, but she’s the next generation of broodmare and hopefully will continue the legacy.”