Full of Wonder and jockey Todd Kabel, ran down race favorite Perfect Soul in the final strides to win Saturday's $324,400 Niagara Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. I-C) at Woodbine.A 4-year-old colt owned by Sam-Son Farm, Full of Wonder entered the 1 ½-mile event with four wins already under his belt this year, but without a stakes victory to his credit.Through fractions of :25.10, :49.50, 1:13.89, and 1:37.83 for the mile, Kabel had the son of Mr. Prospector saving ground near the back of the pack. Kabel and the Ontario-bred followed Perfect Soul around the far turn, and into contention for the long stretch drive. In mid-stretch, Kabel asked the dark bay for run, and he responded to engage Perfect Soul and capture a lead in deep stretch. Full of Wonder won by 3/4 length.The 1 ½ mile time of 2:26.18, over the "firm" going, was only two-fifths of a second off the course record set by Raintrap in the 1994 Canadian International.The victory was Todd Kabel's ninth stakes win of the season, which gives him the current jockey colony lead."It seems like the farther he goes, the better he is," said Kabel. "I saw Robert (Landry with Perfect Soul) and he cruised pretty easily to the lead. Robert's horse had a quick turn of foot compared to my horse and I knew I could wear him down if it was possible, and we did exactly that. This horse has really matured. Today, he ran a very powerful race."Trainer Mark Frostad, who has won the Niagara three times (with Desert Waves in 1996 and 1997, and with Chief Bearhart in 1998), was very pleased to be back in the winner's circle.
"We're very happy, he's a lovely horse," said Frostad. "He's beautifully bred and he's been running well this year. He finally got his stakes win and we're thrilled."Full of Wonder returned $5.30, $2.60, $2.30 combining with Perfect Soul ($2.60, $2.60) for a $10.90 exacta. Muntej (Perfect Soul's stablemate) was third. Strike Smartly (Full of Wonder's stablemate) was fourth. (Chart, Equibase)