Alan Cohen didn’t have to wait long to make a splash as an owner.
In 2005, Cohen, who was relatively new to racing, purchased three fillies out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. February sale of select 2-year-olds in training. One of them was Wait a While, who was bought for $260,000. The following year she was crowned the champion 3-year-old filly.
Wait a While, undefeated in three starts over Santa Anita’s turf course, will be among the favorites in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 24. It will be the second time the daughter of Maria's Mon out of the A.P. Indy mare Flirtatious has started in the Filly and Mare Turf. In 2006 Wait a While finished fourth at Churchill Downs. She was entered to run last year at Monmouth Park but was scratched the morning of the race. It was announced that the Todd Pletcher trainee had suffered a laceration on her leg.
Had she run at Monmouth, where the turf was a bog, Wait a While would not have received the course condition she favors. This year at Santa Anita she will likely get that firm course.
Cody Richardson, who serves as the racing and farm manager for Cohen and his wife, Karen, said when it was announced the 2008 Breeders’ Cup would be held at Santa Anita, everyone in the Wait a While camp was ecstatic.
“Nothing is a given, but you have to figure in California this time of the year she will get the track she wants,” Richardson said.
Cohen, who campaigns Wait a While under the nom de course Arindel Farm, has been a major player in the pharmaceutical industry since the early 1990s. He founded and subsequently sold several successful companies. Cohen is also the managing general partner, chairman of the board and CEO of the NHL team, the Florida Panthers.
Wait a While enters the 1 1/4-mile Filly and Mare Turf with 12 wins from 23 starts and earnings of $2,181,917. At Santa Anita she has won the Yellow Ribbon (gr.IT) in 2006 and 2008 and this year’s San Gorgonio (gr.IIT).
After winning the San Gorgonio in January, it was discovered Wait a While suffered an injury to her tibia. Richardson credits Pletcher and his staff for quickly detecting the injury.
“The injury was in the early stages and wasn’t a fracture per se,” Richardson said. “It was the beginnings of what could have been a fracture. You know, it might have been a blessing in disguise. She went to the farm and got to be a horse. We turned her out, and she got some R&R. She came back to the races very well.”
Wait a While returned to the races in late July in the Diana (gr.IT) at Saratoga and finished seventh over a course labeled “good.” In her next start, the Ballston Spa (gr.IIT), she got her desired firm course and won the race for the second year in a row. In her prep for the Filly and Mare Turf, the gray mare captured the Yellow Ribbon Sept. 27.
Richardson said it is likely Wait a While will be bred in 2009. She will become part of the Cohen’s broodmare band, which currently numbers 17 at their Arindel Farm in Ocala, Fla.
“Everyone hopes and dreams of winning the Breeders’ Cup,” Richardson said. “We hope the stars are aligned for us. We’ve waited for this opportunity at Santa Anita. I hope it’s a nice day for everybody, and we hope everyone else runs a nice second."