04/20/2011 3:27PM

Hawthorne: Wonderlandbynight's back class offset by injury-related layoff

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STICKNEY, Ill. – Wonderlandbynight last raced in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at the Keeneland fall meet in October, but the class drop she takes Saturday into the Pretty Jenny Stakes for Illinois-breds may be offset by other factors such as fitness and health, trainer Mike Reavis said Wednesday.

The Pretty Jenny is one of six Illinois-bred stakes on tap here Saturday. The races all are listed as having a $100,000 purse, but actual prize money varies depending on the breeding particulars of the top finishers.

Wonderlandbynight was one of nine 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday in a strong edition of the Pretty Jenny. She’s the most accomplished horse in the race, having won the $153,000 Ontario Debutante and the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Lassie before finishing fourth at odds of 5-2 in the Alcibiades. Wonderlandbynight emerged from that race with bone chips in her leg, an injury that was surgically repaired after Wonderlandbynight was shipped to Washington, the home of her owner, Mark Dedomenico. Wonderlandbynight rehabbed and posted four timed workouts at Dedomenico’s Pegasus Farm before shipping in to Hawthorne, where she has worked twice.

Reavis isn’t sure what to expect from post-injury Wonderlandbynight.

“It’s like with any athlete,” he said. “When crunch time comes, are you exactly the way you were before?”

Reavis is also convinced Wonderlandbynight is fit enough for a top performance.

“I’m not saying she can’t win. I’d like to work her again in company and satisfy me, but I’m out of time. It’s either here or wait a while,” Reavis said.

Wonderlandbynight is up against some solid competition Saturday. Miss Jean Louise, Cityrap, Third Chance, and Our Lady In Red all look competitive in the Pretty Jenny.

Reavis’s other Saturday stakes horse, Luck With a Kiss, has the look of a standout in the Land of Lincoln Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Luck With a Kiss went 2 for 2 last year at age 2, winning a pair of Illinois-bred races at Hawthorne by a combined 8 1/4 lengths. Luck With a Kiss was considered for the Jim Edgar Futurity here in December after a blowout win in the Oct. 30 Sun Power Stakes, but Reavis passed the two-turn Edgar because he strongly believes Luck With a Kiss has distance limitations.

“His pedigree says he’s not a route horse, and he doesn’t look like a route horse,” Reavis said.

But the Land of Lincoln will be contested over six furlongs, and Luck With a Kiss should be very tough. Fitness is not issue here, since Luck With a Kiss got in an allowance prep race on March 22, finishing second to the capable older horse Lalo’s Baby Bear.

“He needed that race really bad, as far as fitness,” Reavis said. “He’s dead fit now.”

Saturday’s stakes sequence spans races 4-9 and starts with the Peach of It for older female route horses, where Pathway, Jitterbug Blues, and Home’s the Best look like the prime players. Then comes the Land of Lincoln, followed by the Robert Molaro for older sprinters, where River Bear and Mighty Rule renew a longstanding rivalry. The Governor’s Lady for older female sprinters goes as race 7 and figures to have Cruise, Kathleen L, and Ripe Tomato as the favorites. Race 8 is the Pretty Jenny, with the Milwaukee Avenue for older male route horses completing the Saturday stakes.