Wait a While made a real name for herself in 2006 by winning graded stakes races on both dirt and turf, but it was on the grass where she really excelled. Her accomplishments on both surfaces earned Wait a While an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly for 2006.
Wait a While was also a finalist for champion turf female with two-time champion Ouija Board and grade I winner Gorella. Wait a While’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, earned his third Eclipse Award as leading trainer.
During 2006, Wait a While compiled a record of 5-1-2 from nine starts. All five of her wins came against graded stakes company. She earned $1,226,637. For her career, she has earned $1,323,917 from a record of 7-1-3 from 13 starts.
Bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish and Temple Webber Jr., the daughter of Maria’s Mon out of Flirtatious, by A.P. Indy, began her career on the turf, but plans changed and she took a detour onto the main track during some of the most important 3-year-old filly races of the year. Her dirt tries included a pair of placings in two of the biggest races in her division, the Kentucky Oaks and the Ashland Stakes, both grade I, after completing a series of prep races where she was very successful.
Wait a While made her 3-year-old debut a memorable one with a 14-length win over an off-track in the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II). From there, she moved to the Bonnie Miss (gr. II), where she finished third.
She then finished second in the Ashland Stakes. Those finishes were good enough to convince Pletcher and owner Alan and Karen Cohen’s Arindel Farm to keep the gray or roan filly on the main track on the first Friday in May. In the Oaks, she finished fourth, but was placed third following a disqualification.
After the Oaks, Wait a While was then pointed toward a grass race, but returned to the main track when the Sands Point Stakes (gr. III) was washed off the turf. In the Sands Point, she registered a convincing 41/2-length win over the sloppy going.
Even with her series of successful detours on the main track, Pletcher knew the turf is where Wait a While would excel.
It was because of his belief in her turf abilities that the New York-based trainer did not hesitate to ship his star filly across the country for the American Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. In that race, Wait a While drew off in the stretch to win by an easy 41/2 lengths. Her time for the 11/4-mile race was 1:59.38. The American Oaks marked Wait a While’s first start on the turf since she broke her maiden as a juvenile in her second career start.
Wait a While then returned to her New York base, where she scored another easy 43/4-length win in the Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT).
It was back to the West Coast the following month for the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT), where Wait a While would challenge older fillies and mares for the first time.
In the Yellow Ribbon, Wait a While and jockey Garrett Gomez, who had become her regular rider in the Kentucky Oaks, stalked the early pace, waiting midway through the final turn to unleash her powerful closing kick down the straight to win the race by an easy 41/2 lengths. Wait a While covered the 11/4-mile distance in 1:59.52.
The win in the Yellow Ribbon made Wait a While undefeated in four starts on the turf and one of the favorites for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
In the Filly & Mare Turf, Wait a While tracked the pace four wide into the upper stretch, remained a factor, but gave way to her older rivals in the run down the straight to finish fourth behind Ouija Board, Film Maker, and stablemate Honey Ryder.
The defeat in the Breeders’ Cup has not slowed Wait a While down. She will return to action in March with plans to remain on the turf all season.
(Article appears in the January 27, 2007 issue of The Blood-Horse)