Arindel Farm’s Wait a While didn’t get the easiest of trips despite a five-horse field, but she found room when it counted and spurted away to a relatively easy victory in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Jan. 14 at Santa Anita Park.
It marked the 10th victory in 20 starts for Wait a While, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2006 who is now seven-for-11 on the turf. Long-range plans call for her to be back at Santa Anita later this year for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which she missed in 2007.
With Garrett Gomez riding, Wait a While broke from the rail and rated in third for about three-quarters of a mile in the 1 1/8-mile turf race while Sohgol led the way, stalked by Hucking Hot. Entering the far turn, Wait a While appeared boxed in, but Sohgol drifted out just enough for her to slip through along the rail.
Thereafter, the race for first was over. Wait a While kicked clear by three lengths in the lane and won by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Lavender Sky, last for most of the race, followed the winner’s inside move and easily finished second. Sohgol held for third.
Wait a While, a 5-year-old mare by Maria's Mon out of the A.P. Indy mare Flirtatious, paid $2.60 to win as the prohibitive favorite. She won the San Gorgonio in 1:50.83 for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf after fractions of :23.97 for the first quarter-mile, :48.15 for the half-mile, 1:11.50 for six furlongs, and 1:35.03 for the mile.
“She was looking around and broke out (at the start), and I couldn’t get her focused on her task,” Gomez told HRTV in a post-race interview. “When I found a spot, she did what she was supposed to do.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the performance and happy to be back in California. He said Wait a While probably would race in California again early this year, be pointed toward a Saratoga campaign in the summer, and ultimately a return to California in the fall.
“We’re taking it race by race,” Pletcher said. “You hate to make too many plans this way out, but hopefully we’ll be back here with her in the fall.”
Wait a While, whose lifetime earnings now exceed $1.8 million, was bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish and W. Temple Webber Jr. She displayed her turf prowess when she broke her maiden in her turf debut in September 2005, and won the July 2006 American Oaks (gr. I) at Hollywood Park in her second start on grass.