The San Gorgonio, at nine furlongs for older fillies and mares, was among the races canceled during an unprecedented three-day stoppage Jan. 5-7 due to drainage problems with the Southern California facility's new Cushion Track racing surface. The region was hit hard by rain over a four-day period; but there is no wet stuff in the forecast for the next week, and the grass course is said to be in terrific shape.
Racing fans will get a rare non-holiday Monday treat with a major stakes and the presence of Wait a While in the San Gorgonio, which drew a field of just five. The race was originally scheduled for Jan. 6.
After withdrawing Wait a While from the 2007 Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) when she sustained a knee wound a week before the race, trainer Pletcher is hoping that the daughter of Maria's Mon can regain the Eclipse Award-winning form she showed as the nation's leading 3-year-old filly in 2006.
Wait a While is coming off a second-place finish behind Precious Kitten in the one-mile Matriarch (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park lawn on Nov. 25.
Game in defeat while racing at a distance shorter than her best, Wait a While was compromised by the meandering Matriarch pace and could not collar Precious Kitten in the stretch run, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind.
Wait a While, owned by Arindel Farm, captured both the American Oaks (gr. IT) and Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) among her five victories in 2006, earning more than $1.2 million. After winning two of her six tries at 4, the gray/roan has a 9-3-4 record in 19 lifetime starts and has banked $1,729,917. She has won six of 10 on turf.
Garrett Gomez will once again be aboard Wait a While, who gives away six or more pounds to her competitors as the 121-pound highweight. She drew the rail this time.
The San Gorgonio has belonged to trainer Bobby Frankel, who has saddled seven of the past 12 winners. He will be represented this time by California newcomer Costume.
Juddmonte Farms’ British-bred Costume was group placed in England in her final start there but shows only a maiden race victory in 10 starts. She was competitive in her three U.S. outings last year, finishing fourth in each: the Garden City (gr. IT) at Belmont, the Queen Elizabeth II (gr. IT) at Keeneland and, most recently, the Miss Revere (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
Rafael Bejarano continues to ride the 4-year-old daughter of leading sire Danehill. She has earned $120,464.
Lavender Sky, a consistent daughter of Mt. Livermore, took a big step forward in her last start for trainer Dan Hendricks when she finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Citronnade, in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood one month ago. Lavender Sky, who made her graded stake debut in the Dahlia, has been worse than third just once in eight career starts but has only one victory over maidens in Nov. 2006.
The Irish-bred Sohgol gained her first stakes victory in her last start, the 1 1/2-mile Hermosa Beach Handicap on the Hollywood lawn on Dec. 5. Augustin Stable owns the 6-year-old Singspiel mare who is trained by Neil Drysdale. Sohgol snapped an eight-race losing streak in the Hermosa Beach.
Hucking Hot finished sixth in the Dahlia last time out.
$150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 3, 1:45 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/8 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Wait a While (KY), 121, Garrett K. Gomez
2. Lavender Sky (KY), 115, Alex O. Solis
3. Costume (GB), 115, Rafael Bejarano
4. Hucking Hot (GB), 113, Victor Espinoza
5. Sohgol (IRE), 115, David R. Flores