Arindel Farm’s 2006 Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly Wait a While makes her anticipated return to competition as a heavy favorite in a field of eight older fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Co-featured on Sunday’s card will be the $100,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT), which attracted a field of nine older horses set go one mile on turf.
Jockey John Velazquez will be aboard Wait a While for trainer Todd Pletcher as the 4-year-old roan/gray daughter of Maria’s Mon makes her first start since finishing fourth behind Lord Derby’s world champion mare Ouija Board in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Wait a While carries 123 pounds Sunday, six to 10 more than each of her rivals, and breaks from post 2.
Wait a While made a big impression winning the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) by 14 lengths over the Gulfstream main track last winter, but it was the four straight graded stakes victories on turf later in the campaign that led to her Eclipse honors, including scores in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in early July and the Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) at Santa Anita prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
Wait a While will face several formidable opponents in the Honey Fox, including Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Precious Kitten, Hobeau Farm’s Miss Shop and Erdenheim Farm’s Aunt Henny.
Precious Kitten is a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Catienus and half-sister to the Ramseys’ 2004 Eclipse champion turf star Kitten’s Joy. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Precious Kitten makes her first start since rallying to victory in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 18.
Miss Shop had a lucrative payday last out winning the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 27 for trainer Allen Jerkens. The 4-year-old homebred daughter of Deputy Minister is highly versatile with stakes victories on turf and dirt. She also captured an allowance race over the Gulfstream course last year.
Aunt Henny showed her fondness for the Gulfstream course in three starts last season, winning twice and narrowly missing when second in the other. Trained by Michael Matz, the 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Hennessy won the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) in mid-March and then the $200,000 Virginia Oaks last out at Colonial Downs on July 15.
$100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 3:54 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Miss Shop (FL), 116, Mark Guidry
2. Wait a While (KY), 123, John R. Velazquez
3. Brazilian (KY), 113, Eddie Castro
4. Aunt Henny (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
5. Toll Taker (IL), 113, Rajiv Maragh
6. Aerocat (FL), 112, Elvis Trujillo
7. Precious Kitten (KY), 117, Rafael Bejarano
8. Chaibia (IRE), 115, Cornelio H. Velasquez