01/13/2017 2:43PM

Wonder Gal back at best in Ladies Handicap

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Wonder Gal and jockey Kendrick Carmouche air by 13 1/2 lengths in the Ladies Handicap on Friday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Wonder Gal was recently purchased by Bernard Cleary's Clearview Stables as a broodmare prospect. If her performance in Friday’s Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct was any indication, Wonder Gal may not want to be a mother just yet.

Sent to the front right out of the gate by Kendrick Carmouche, Wonder Gal galloped to a 13 1/2-length victory in Friday’s $100,000 Ladies Handicap. Chorus Line, last early, finished second, two lengths ahead of Jet Majesty. Highway Star and Always On My Mind, the second and third wagering choices, finished fourth and fifth.

The win was the fourth from 17 starts for Wonder Gal, a 5-year-old New York-bred daughter of Tiz Wonderful. It was her first victory in an open-company stakes after 13 previous tries. She had placed in several graded stakes, including a third-place finish in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and a second in the Grade 1 Mother Goose.

Her previous stakes win came in the $300,000 Empire Distaff at the end of 2015. Since then, however, Wonder Gal had just one win from seven starts, that being an 11 1/2-length demolition of New York-breds in an allowance race last summer at Saratoga.

That win may have compromised Wonder Gal for her next two starts - a fifth-place finish in the Gallant Bloom and a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Wonder Gal ran a solid third in the Go for Wand on Dec. 3, beaten a neck by Highway Star, and her subsequent breezes had Gyarmati thinking she was back to her best.

“She started working the way she used to work,” Gyarmati said. “I was hoping that was a sign she was back.”

The first two races on Friday’s card were won by inside speed horses. Carmouche said he was given free rein on how to ride Wonder Gal, but thought it best to put her on the lead.

“She told me I could do whatever I want, but I had the one-hole and the best thing you could do out of the one-hole is see if you can get position and see if everybody is scattering behind you, and that’s pretty much what happened,” Carmouche said.

Wonder Gal ran an opening quarter in 23.70 seconds and a half-mile in 47.73 seconds with Always On My Mind stalking her. Always On My Mind began to drop back on the turn, Wonder Gal increased her advantage, and she cruised under the wire the easiest of winners.

The Ladies was run Friday after being rescheduled following the cancellation of the Jan. 7 card due to snow. Jose Ortiz was named to ride that day. With Ortiz at Oaklawn Friday, Kendrick Carmouche regained the mount.

Wonder Gal covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:42.45 and returned $5 as the 3-2 favorite.

“So impressive,” Gyarmati said. “I knew she was that kind of filly.”

What Gyarmati doesn’t know yet is if the new owners will keep going with Wonder Gal or get her started on her breeding career.