The road that leads to a spot in the coveted Kentucky Oaks can be treacherous. Now that the calendar has turned to February, the wheels are rolling, especially for one talented filly

Wonder Wheel enjoyed an ultra-impressive two-year-old season in 2022. Four wins and a second in five starts including two grade 1 victories made this daughter of into Mischief one of the hottest girls in the game. Closing her campaign with a three-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies cemented her spot as the Juvenile Fillies Eclipse Award winner.

As the days have rolled into 2023, this Mark Casse-trained filly has blossomed into a three-year-old with a lot of promise. Remarkably impressive as a two-year-old, Wonder Wheel seems to be rolling in that very same direction.

“She really is such a princess”, says Casse. “Wonder Wheel is so easy to train and she just seems to go about everything so easily. She has always been a very good horse and all things point toward this year being more of the same.”

Wonder Wheel will kick off her run towards the Kentucky Oaks on February 11 in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Downs. Run at a mile and 40 yards, Casse sees this as a logical stepping stone towards his Spring goal. Considering his Wheel has been working at his nearby training center, Tampa was the right place to get things started.

“It will be a very easy trip, we just hope the rain stays away”, says Casse. “She is very talented and runs well everywhere. This will be a good test and hopefully, it sets her up for Keeneland and then the Kentucky Oaks.”

The Suncoast is carded as race 9 with an expected post time of 3:48 central. Currently listed as the even-money favorite in a nine-horse field, Wonder Wheel will be ridden by Tyler Gafflione.

Coady Photography