10/24/2015 6:32PM

Wonder Gal drops out of Grade 1 company to take Empire Distaff


ELMONT, N.Y. - Wonder Gal has been has been a very consistent runner against top company and has been Grade 1-placed four times. Surprisingly, she came into the $250,000 Empire Distaff at Belmont Park on Saturday with only a single career victory.

She is now 2 for 9 for trainer Leah Gyarmati and $150,000 richer.

Wonder Gal entered the Distaff off a rare bad performance, an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on Aug. 8. In her two prior starts, she had finished second in the Grade 1 Mother Goose and third in the Grade 1 Acorn.

"She bled in the Test, and we gave her all the time she needed," Gyarmati said. "She has shown up every time for us, except for the Test, and that's why we kept trying her in those big races."

Wonder Gal didn't break sharply in the 1 1/16-mile Distaff but she quickly recovered and moved up to track the early leaders, Hot Stones and Carameaway, who were laying down quick fractions of 22.90 and 45.50 seconds. Wonder Gal lodged her bid three wide on the far turn, took the lead nearing the stretch, and scored by 2 1/2 lengths under jockey Jose Lezcano.

Wonder Gal paid $5.80 to win as the second choice in the nine-horse field. She was timed in 1:42.31.

Temper Mint Patty was four wide on the far turn but rallied to be second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Jc's Shooting Star.

Wonder Gal now has a 9-2-2-3 record and $697,000 in earnings. Plans call for her to race again next year at 4.

"For the time being we'll probably keep her in more New York-bred races," Gyarmati said. "We got off to a slow start with her this year and didn't get as much down as we would have liked."