Wait a While Atones With Ballston Repeat

Wait a While Atones With Ballston Repeat
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Wait a While takes the Ballston Spa Handicap for the 2nd straight year.
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Odds-on choice Wait a While returned to her winning ways with a repeat victory in the $196,000 Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) on the Saratoga lawn Aug. 21.

Wait a While disappointed as the lukewarm choice in the Diana (gr. IT) in her last start July 26 when the course came up with a little give to it. But back on the firm going that she prefers, Arindel Farm's classy 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon proved much the best while chalking up her 11th lifetime win in 22 starts.

“I think firm turf is the biggest key," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "We kind of had everything working against us last time (in the Diana). We had an outside post and we were hung out wide all the way around there. It was actually a little better race than it looked, and it came up such a tough race. The ground was just a touch soft that day, and I think that having that race under her belt set her up well for today.

“She’s a special filly," Pletcher added. "She was a champion at 3 and she’s won some tremendous races. Two Ballston Spas and her Lake Placid as a 3-year-old were awesome races. This is her fourth year at Saratoga, so when you have one that long, it gets a little extra special.”

Ridden by John Velazquez in a five-horse field, Wait a While enjoyed a perfect stalking trip behind the pacesetting Sharp Susan, who provided a decent pace (:23.93, :47.08, 1:10.39) for the 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares. Wait a While challenged for the lead coming off the turn and took control in upper stretch. She felt a couple of cracks with a left-handed whip from Velazquez mid-stretch and widened her lead a bit, then finished under hand urging a measured length in front of the gradually gaining Carriage Trail, ridden by Edgar Prado.

Second choice Rutherienne, with Julien Leparoux aboard, ran out of steam in the lane and finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Sharp Susan and Valbenny completed the order.

The final time was an excellent 1:39.70, less than one second off the Mellon Turf Course record.

"She did really well," said Velazquez, who rode Wait a While for the first time since they teamed to win the Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park in March 2007. "She did everything good. She did whatever I wanted to get my position. When I asked her, she went right away.”

Wait a While boosted her career earnings to $1,941,917 with the $120,000 winner's share.

Pletcher said the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) at 10 furlongs on the turf at Santa Anita Sept. 27 would be Wait a While’s next likely start.

Wait a While won her third race in four starts on the Saratoga turf, her only blemish coming in the Diana, which was her first start in more than six months. The gray mare has won all three of her efforts at the 1 1/16-mile distance.

Last year, Wait a While defeated Vacare by 2 1/4 lengths in the Ballston Spa.

Sent off at odds of 4-5, Wait a While carried co-high weight of 119 pounds to victory and paid $3.70, $3 and $2.20. The $2 exacta was $26. Carriage Trail, who was coming off a stakes win for Shug McGaughey on the inner turf course July 30, returned $5.90 and $2.80. Rutherienne, also under 119, registered her fourth consecutive third-place finish for trainer Christophe Clement and paid $2.60 to show.

W.S. Farish and W. Temple Webber Jr. bred Wait a While in Kentucky. She is out of the A.P. Indy mare Flirtatious.

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