|Did you ever see a horse in person that you know is really good, but will probably not yet be noticed by a national audience? Have you ever seen a horse that impresses you so much physically that you can’t help but become a fan? Sure you have, and yesterday I was lucky enough to see the daily double in one horse. Mark Dedomenico’s Wonderlandbynight is a gorgeous chestnut daughter of one of my favorite sires, Sky Mesa. With E. T. Baird in the irons, the juvenile filly used the Grade III $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie as her personal coming out party, impressively powering past her 12 rivals to win by 2 ½ lengths. The Mike Reavis trained miss covered the mile over Arlington’s Polytrack surface in 1:36.65, but then had to survive a claim of foul by the jockey of runner-up Jordy Y. The claim was correctly disallowed by the stewards and the two-year-old filly etched her name into an illustrious list of past winners including last year’s Eclipse winner, She Be Wild.|
Bred by her trainer, Wonderlandbynight kept her perfect record in tact after four starts. Interestingly, her four wins have come in two stakes races, and in two maiden races. In her first lifetime start, she rallied nicely to finish second against colts, but was later awarded the victory after the winner failed a post-race medication test. Since then she romped home an easy winner against maiden fillies, thereby giving her the rare distinction of being a two-time maiden winner, before grabbing her first stakes victory in her last effort. The Illinois bred filly was coming off that sharp score in the $150,000 Ontario Debutante over 6 ½ furlongs at Woodbine.
Watching Wonderlandbynight stroll into the winner’s circle after the official sign went up, I was struck by several attributes. Most noticeable is the sizeable white blaze that leads the way for the all copper colored filly. A copper coat that glistened in the Chicago sunshine yesterday. Both her size and her presence remind me of a much older filly, as she carries her head proudly like she already knows that she is far from average. Her conformation looked flawless to my quick inspection, and she had a very intelligent look in her alert eyes. Needless to say, I liked what I saw.
The Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland could be next for Wonderlandbynight, as she tries to emulate the path taken to an eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victory by She Be Wild. It would be a lot to ask of the Illinois bred to complete the Lassie-BC double, but she has gained at least one new fan in yours truly. Class will be the question against grade 1 competition, but she is getting better with every start, now has a nice win at a mile, and as I have mentioned, is a real looker. Wonderlandbynight is definitely a filly to keep an eye on race fans.