Trained by Gary Capuano and ridden by Travis Dunkelberger, Wonder Mon did not pass a single horse until he was a quarter of a mile from home, but in a flash he was by all of them and he drew off to win by 6-1/4 lengths in 1:37.32 for the one mile distance on the fast main track. Casanova Jack finished second and Malibu Kid was third.
“He just galloped by them,” Dunkelberger said. “He went about his business just like we hoped. We thought a lot of this horse last year and he’s come back and is doing really good.”
“We figured if he needed one, this would be a good spot to give him one but it turned out he looked fitter than we thought,” Capuano said. “He really took off and exploded there. He ran well and fast too. He did the same thing last year when he came off a layoff.”
Capuano, who also saddled fifth place finisher Legendary Lover, indicated the decision to run the grey colt was made after a discussion with exercise rider Frank Saumell.
“I asked him this morning and he said ‘the way he carries me around there, he’s fit’,” said Capuano, who is best known for training Captain Bodgit.
“It had more to do with how Gary trains his horses,” added Saumell, who also galloped horses for among others Hall of Fame conditioner LeRoy Jolley. “He just puts a great foundation under his horses. He is probably the best trainer I have ever worked for. He never trains a horse the same every day. I can never predict what he is going to do. And I had a lot of confidence today because of that. He has put a lot of miles in this horse since he returned to the barn a couple months ago. Gary is a fantastic horsemen.”
Wonder Mon, the first foal out of Runnin Wonder, a stakes-placed earner of nearly $80,000 and a half sister to Maryland-bred millionaire Cherokee’s Boy, was sent to Florida for the Triple Crown prep season after an allowance score at Laurel in January but he produced just one in the money finish in three starts losing to the likes of Smooth Air, Cool Coal Man and Hey Byrn.
“He wasn’t good enough to beat them,” said Capuano. “I still don’t know if he can now but he ran an unbelievable race today. He still has more to prove. We tried earlier this spring and it didn’t quite work out. I think he’ll get better as he gets older.”