Owned by the partnership of Bienstock, Winner, Papiano and Noctis LLC, Wannawinemall won the 1 1/16-mile maiden test over a wet-fast track in 1:43 4/5, one tick faster than fellow Triple Crown hopeful Golden Shine, who captured an allowance event over a fast track a day earlier.
"We're definitely running in a stakes next time," Mulhall said. "What we're hoping for is to run in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) or possibly the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on the same day (March 12), but most likely we'll stay in California. He's going to have to win the El Camino for fun in order for us to think Derby, but we're going to try."
Kentucky-bred Wannawinemall was purchased for $85,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2003 and has made three starts in his career so far, picking up two thirds prior to his victory.
Mulhall said that with a strong performance in the El Camino Real Derby,the nearly black Wannawinemall may start next in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but he'd most likely head out of town for a softer Derby prep.
"The Santa Anita Derby is ideal, but we're probably going to ship out of town and look for the easiest spot possible," the 22-year-old conditioner said.
Mulhall's lone Triple Crown runner, Imperialism, finished third in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and later ran fifth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).