Edgar Prado waited patiently for the top of the stretch, then let Wonder Again roll to victory in the $233,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Sunday, holding off a fast-closing Riskaverse late.
Wonder Again won the 1 1/8-mile Inner Turf Course race for 3-year-old fillies in 1:47 1/5. She was one of four fillies to carry the highweight 119 pounds.
"I rode her with confidence," Prado said. "I know what she's capable of. She's got great acceleration. Riskaverse took a good run at us, but I don't think my filly would have ever let her by."
Wonder Again -- a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred bay filly by Silver Hawk, out of Ameriflora (Danzig) -- earned $150,000 for the mother-son ownership team of Joan and John Phillips. The homebred filly is now 4-1-1 from seven starts with earnings of $308,840.
"That was a huge effort," said winning trainer James Toner. "She got bottled up and I lost track of her. You see them all go by you and you figure 'That's it.' Once she saw daylight, she just exploded."
Wonder Again broke her maiden on June 26 at Belmont Park and has not lost since. She has a four-race winning streak that includes two triumphs at Saratoga over yielding turf courses: a 1 3/16-mile turf allowance win on July 24 and the Lake Place Handicap (gr. II) on Aug. 18.
"She's got a lot of potential," Toner said. "She does everything you want her to do."
Wonder Again, who paid $5.40 as the race favorite, burst from the No. 6 post and settled behind frontrunner Kithira (GB) and Cyclorama. At the top of the stretch, Prado chirped and Wonder Again split the leaders and pulled away.
"She broke well, but I didn't want to go to the lead," Prado said. "She was kind of looking around going into the first turn, but she settled nicely."
Riskaverse, under Robbie Davis, drew the outside No. 10 post and came late on the rail to finish second, a half-length back. Riskaverse was also second to Wonder Again in the Lake Placid three weeks ago.
"The post was a killer," said Pat Kelly, Riskaverse's trainer. "You have to do twice as much work from out there." Added Davis: "We keep getting outside posts and she keeps running huge races. She was as game as could be. We got beat by a nice filly."
Pertuisane (GB), making her first start in the U.S., found traffic problems on the inside but finished well to get third at odds of 44-1 under Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Wonder Again will next be pointed at the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (Gr. 1), an invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, on Oct. 12 at Keeneland.
The winner paid $5.40, $3.70 and $3.10. Riskaverse returned $6.70 and $4.50. Pertuisane paid $11 for the show. The $2 exacta was $39.40.